As a parent, you’ve probably heard a lot about the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program. But how do VPK schools prepare your child for kindergarten, and should your child attend one? We’re here to answer some of your questions about how this program benefits your child and give you a rundown of the VPK basics.
What Is A VPK School?
The VPK program is offered free to all 4-year-olds living in Florida and is designed to bridge the gap between play school and kindergarten. You can find the program offered by registered VPK providers, or VPK schools, both in the summer and throughout the regular school year.
What Do Children Learn?
The main two focus areas of the VPK program are literacy and social skills. These are essential skills that give children a boost for kindergarten learning. With the early stages of reading and writing covered in a VPK program, children can have an easier time adjusting to daily life in kindergarten. As all children catch on to literacy skills in their own time, a VPK program can act as a buffer period for getting comfortable with reading and writing. In addition to literacy, the curriculum also includes science experiments, beginner math, and art projects.
The other focus, social skills, can be even more important as your child progresses to kindergarten. In a classroom environment, children begin to learn manners, teamwork, and acceptable class behavior. Having experience listening and following instructions can greatly help with the shift to kindergarten, where class sizes may be larger, and children will be expected to work with others more often.
What Kind Of Programs Are Offered?
VPK programs run twice per year: once throughout the regular school year, and once throughout the summer. It’s up to you to choose what program you wish to enroll in, and this is entirely dependent on whether you feel ready to make the jump to kindergarten.
The VPK program offered throughout the school year consists of 540 educational hours, averaging out to around 3 to 6 hours per day depending on the dates of the course. Providers may also offer their own schedule throughout the school year or offer flexible options for you to choose from.
The summer VPK program runs for 300 hours, starting any time after May. If a child is eligible to start kindergarten that fall, they can also take this VPK option to make sure they’re fully prepared, instead of waiting a full year for the next fall start date.
Bridging The Gap Between Preschool and Kindergarten
For many children, the jump between a daycare and kindergarten is big. This is usually when the learning environment begins to shift: before, children learn from the world around them and their own experiences, and in kindergarten, children begin to take in knowledge through more structured classes and lessons. While play is still essential in the kindergarten curriculum, learning starts to be approached from a different perspective.
The key point to note is that every child develops at their own pace. Some four-year-olds’ are ready to start kindergarten, and some children are only start when they’re six. A VPK program is designed to bridge the gap between early learning and kindergarten and beyond. As such, it’s important to assess your child’s development and kindergarten readiness before taking the leap.
VPK At Providence Children’s Academy
The VPK program offered at Providence Children’s Academy helps get your child ready for the next step in their academic experience. We keep our class sizes small, so we can focus on every child in our care and strive to give your child the head start they need for kindergarten. Contact us today to find out more about how our VPK program can help you.