What is VPK?
VPK stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. If you live in Florida, and your child turns 4 four years of age by September 1, your child is eligible to participate in Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program.
Benefits of early education and VPK?
The most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of five.
The early years are the learning years. A child’s ability to be attentive and to follow directions emerges in the early years. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and in life.
Pre-K prepares children to be ready for school. Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. They are also better prepared for Kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills.
Pre-K promotes a love of learning in children. Pre-K enhances what a child learns at home and instills a love of life-long learning.
Highlights of the VPK Program
- FREE for all children who live in Florida and who turn 4 years of age by September 1
- No tuition/registration fee
- Parents may choose a participating private child care or public school provider
- Early language and literacy focus
- Focuses on reading, writing and social skills
- Prepares children to be ready for Kindergarten
- Ratios are 1 instructor to 10 children
- Class size will not exceed 20 children in the school-year program, and will not exceed 10 children for the summer program
- All VPK instructors must have a minimum of a Child Development Associate (CDA) for the school-year program, or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or related fields.
- Parents are responsible for their child’s transportation
- VPK legislation was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush on January 2, 2005. This law created a program to prepare every Florida four-year-old for Kindergarten and to build a strong foundation for their continued educational success.
- The VPK program will better prepare Florida’s young children for a successful Kindergarten experience by focusing the Department of Education’s efforts on early literacy. This legislation assigns responsibilities for the day-to-day management of the program to the Office of Early Learning (OEL); licensing and credentialing to the Department of Children and Families (DCF); and the creation of standards, curriculum, and accountability to the Department of Education (DOE).