Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)
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.
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.
- 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.
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.