Are you a Florida resident looking for a great preschool for your child? You are in luck! Florida is one of the very few states in the U.S. that offers a free Voluntary Prekindergarten Education (VPK) program for children.
But what is VPK and how do you know if your child is eligible?
We answer all these questions and more. Read on to learn what your options are and to find the best VPK program for your child.
What is VPK?
Early childhood education is important to Floridians. That’s why Florida was one of the first states in the country to offer free preschool to children since 2005. Since that time, over 2.5 million preschoolers have received early childhood education through Florida’s VPK program.
But what exactly is VPK? Essentially, VPK is one year of free preschool for children residing in Florida who are either 4 or 5 years old.
The program is intended to help prepare preschool-aged children to begin kindergarten. While each childhood education program varies, the standard preschool curriculum often includes basic subjects such as the alphabet, shapes, math and science literacy, socialization, art, and more.
Understanding your child’s eligibility for a VPK program is simple. Aside from being a Florida resident, your child must be 4 years old by September 1st of the desired school year. Children who turn 4 years old between February 2nd and September 1st may delay their VPK year.
Children born between February 2-September 1 may begin their free year of VPK at 5 years old if they have not already completed a year of VPK.
The growing popularity of parents “red-shirting” their children for kindergarten has made starting VPK at 5 years old a more common practice. A child’s eligibility is not determined by family income, and the year of VPK is entirely free for eligible families.
Who Offers VPK?
VPK programs are offered by a variety of providers. Public, private, and charter schools, child care centers, and specialized schools all offer VPK programs.
Each provider may include slightly different services in addition to preschool education. These services often include childcare or after-hours care for kids with working parents.
While Florida has many options for VPK programs, availability runs out quickly. The popularity of VPK, and the increasing need for quality childcare, means many programs have waiting lists. Some fill up months before the school year begins.
Choosing the Right VPK for Your Child
What is VPK? It’s an opportunity for your little one to get a head start on their education. Grow With Us Learning Academy has the entire experience of your child in mind. We are here to help your child explore and develop a love for learning that will accompany them through their whole life.
Our balanced curriculum is unique. We help kids develop strong literacy and social skills while also introducing them to the basics of math and science–a subject often neglected in early childhood education.
Contact us today to talk to one of our excellent staff members about enrollment options.