If you just moved from out of state or if even if you are from Florida, you may have some uncertainties about Florida VPK. Here we answer some of the most common questions or concerns you might have about what it is, how it works, and why you should enroll your child in it.
What Is VPK?
VPK stands for Voluntary Prekindergarten Educational Program. In the state of Florida, VPS creates the opportunity for all four-year-old and five-year-old children to develop critical social, emotional, and cognitive skills before they enter full-time kindergarten. Children may participate in VPK one time only, though when they participate has to do with the child’s age, their birthday, and their parents’ assessment of their child’s development.
How Much Does VPK Cost?
Florida VPK is free! Florida was one of the first states in the U.S. to make it accessible for all families. Regardless of your financial status, your child can attend VPK as long as you live in the state. Public, private, and charter schools across the state of Florida offer VPK for children. You may decide to pay out of pocket for VPK, enroll your child in a faith-based program, or opt for a free public program. There are an abundance of options to choose from.
How Does It Work?
In order for children to qualify for free VPK, they must live in the state of Florida and turn four by September 1st of the current school year. Children whose birthdays fall before September 1st are eligible to enroll. In most cases, children will begin a program when they are four, but they are also eligible to enroll in VPK when they are five years old. In 2016, Florida passed a new law stating that if the child’s fourth birthday falls between July 2nd and September 2nd, they can postpone enrolling in VPK as a four-year-old. The rationale behind this is they would be one of the younger students in their class if they were to enroll as a four-year-old. Some parents want to give their children more time to develop and mature so they aren’t behind their peers intellectually or emotionally. In this case, parents can hold off on enrolling their child until they turn five.
What Are The Options?
There are a variety of VPK options for your child depending on your financial situation, language preferences, and your child’s learning needs. Here are several options you may want to consider.
- School year program: 540 hours of instruction. This the most common option. With one teacher, the maximum class size is 11 students. With a lead teacher and paraprofessional or assistant teacher, the class cap is 20 students. The program begins in August.
- Summer program: 300 hours of instruction. The class cap is 12 students with one lead instructor.
- Specialized Instructional Services program (SIS): for children who need exceptional student education. In order for these students to partake in a SIS VPK program they need an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a local school district.
- Dual language VPK: services are offered in more than one language. The most frequent combination in Florida is English and Spanish.
What Are The Benefits?
VPK can give your child an extra boost before they enter kindergarten. Students can begin to develop motor skills, social and emotional skills, vocabulary, and language skills. Children also get a head start on what it will be like to be in a classroom setting once they enter kindergarten. VPK eases them into honing their focus and gives them a space to learn how to interact with other students. On the parents’ side, it serves as a more educational and enriching alternative to placing children in daycares or hiring a nanny or babysitter. In Florida, it is widely accessible at no cost. There are few downsides, if any, to enrolling your child in VPK.
How Do I Choose The Right VPK?
If you live in South Florida and are searching for a high-quality VPK program, Providence Children’s Academy may be right for you! We focus on cultivating your child’s literacy abilities and strive to provide a stimulating setting for your young one to gain knowledge and grow. Contact us today at 954-570-6914 to learn more.