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Elementary school on Jacksonville's eastside converts into an early learning center

During the 2020-2021 school year, John Love Elementary School was consolidated because it was an under-enrolled school.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The building blocks for success now are starting even earlier for some kids on Jacksonville's eastside.

This comes after the John Love Elementary School was consolidated due to an enrollment decline and is now the John Love Early Learning Center for three and four year olds. 

“We know that if we can get our students kindergarten ready and they are ready and prepared for kindergarten. They are not only going to better for kindergarten but when they finish and they go into their upper elementary classes," said Duval County School Board Member, Darryl Willie. 

Willie says the John Love Early Learning Center offers steam education. That’s Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics.

“One unique thing that I really love is to see that the students can lead the instruction without the teacher. There’s nothing cooler than seeing a kid pick up the teachers phone and begin coding the robot to make it move," said Principal Sonya McSwain. 

Mcswain says the equipment for steam education costs $500,000 but the price tag well worth it because the demographics on the eastside show that children don’t have the same opportunities as other students in Duval County.

“So it’s really important for us to do this work in this community to ensure that these kids get a leg up in terms of having a strong academic foundation but also a social and emotional foundation," said Mcswain. 

The learning center opened this fall for the 2021-2022 school year. They started the center with only 12 kids and now have 90. There are still 30 open slots. 

“If you are in the neighborhood and your out east in the Springfield area swing by and say hello. You’ll be able to meet the principal. Sign up. There’s spaces still available. This is good opportunity lets get them because they are going to be set up for their future," said Willie. 

You can enroll your kids by going to the Duval County Public Schools website or you can enroll at their ribbon cutting on November 6 at 10 a.m.