What is Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten ?
The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program – or VPK – is a free prekindergarten program for 4 and 5-year-olds who reside in Florida. Participating children must be 4 year of age on or before September 1.
The school-year program includes 540 hours of instructional time, the summer program consists of 300 instructional hours.
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.
Benefits of early education and the VPK program
- The most important growth and development in the brain happen 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.
How to Register
Visit the office of the Early Learning Coalition of SW Florida or their website at https://elcofswfl.org to complete an application with scans of the following documentation:
- Proof you reside in Florida (e.g. utility bill, bank statement)
- Proof your child turns 4 years of age by September 1 st. (e.g. birth certificate).
Families with eligible children will receive a certificate of eligibility. Please keep this document in a safe place as you will need it to enroll your child in the participating VPK program of your choice.
Our VPK program runs Monday through Friday while Parents can choose from manyDifferent schedules. We also offer a “wrap-around program for parents who want Child Care for their program for parents who want child care for their child beyond the three VPK hours.