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The VPK program is a free prekindergarten program for 4 and 5-year-olds who reside in Florida. Participating children must be 4 years of age on or before September 1. Parents can enroll their child in the state’s free, voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) education program that year or wait until the following year when their child is 5. You will also need to show (upload):

  • Proof you live in Florida (utility bill, bank statement, etc.)
  • Your child’s birth certificate or passport

Voluntary Prekindergarten or VPK gives children a jump start by preparing them for school and enhancing their pre-reading, pre-math, language, and social skills. By developing the skills children need to become strong readers and students at an early age, children are more likely to be successful in school. VPK classrooms offer high-quality programs that include high literacy standards, developmentally appropriate curricula, manageable class sizes, and qualified teachers. The school-year program includes 540 hours of instructional time and begins in August. The summer program consists of 300 instructional hours and can begin as early as May 1.

How can your child benefit from 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.
  • VPK 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.
  • VPK promotes a love of learning in children. VPK enhances what a child learns at home and instills a love of life-long learning.

There are a number of private child care and public-school providers offering VPK programs across Collier, Hendry, Lee, and Glades counties. For information in Collier call (239) 213-1136 and Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties call (239) 935-6100

To learn more about Florida’s VPK program download the parent brochures below

Choosing a Quality VPK
Voluntary Prekindergarten Handbook
Form OEL-VPK 07 Parent Handbook – Haitian Creole

Here’s some fun reading for parent and child alike!

The Power of Preschool (English)

The Power of Preschool (Spanish)

Coalition News: Hurricane Ian

In response to Hurricane Ian, the Early Learning Coalition of SWFL is dedicated to providing information and assistance to childcare providers of Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties.

School Readiness Providers:  School Readiness reimbursements for September are anticipated to be released on schedule.  If you are able to log into the Provider Portal, please record facility closures for September and submit your attendance.  Payment will NOT be delayed if you are not able to access the portal due to loss of power or internet.

VPK Providers:  VPK Advance has been processed for all providers contracted for advance payments.  VPK reimbursements for September are anticipated to be released on schedule.  If you are able to log into the Provider Portal, please record facility closures for September and submit your attendance.  Payment will NOT be delayed if you are not able to access the portal due to loss of power or internet.

Click HERE for instructions on recording temporary closures in the Statewide Provider Portal.

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