The VPK or Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program is a free education program for four-year-olds in Florida. It offers an excellent opportunity for your child to learn and grow. The objective of this program is to help your child prepare for kindergarten.
To take advantage of this program, you need to register your four-year-old at the nearest center in the state of Florida.
Eligibility Criteria for the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program
Keep in mind specific eligibility rules and guidelines. These criteria ensure that only those students who would benefit most from the program can attend VPK classes. Local school boards administer it, so each county has its standards, which is why it’s essential to check with your area (or where you live) to find out the specific requirements for your child.
According to Florida law, children must be four and six months of age on or before September 1 to enroll in the voluntary pre-kindergarten program. This program is provided free of charge for families with an income level that does not exceed federal poverty guidelines. If you meet these criteria, you do not need to pay for your child to attend the program.
Also, the child must reside in Florida and not currently enrolled in a public school or private school.
Exceptions to these eligibility criteria include if a child is homeless, in foster care, or has a disability, they may be eligible to participate in the VPK program even if they do not meet the age requirement.
How Does the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program Work?
Once your child is enrolled, they attend classes regularly during the year. During the nine-month school term (which runs from September – June), your child will have a total of 576 hours in the classroom. In the summer months, your child will receive 60 more hours of education so they can have a total of 636 hours for the year.
What Can My Child Learn from Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten?
In the voluntary pre-kindergarten program, children learn many things. They have daily instruction in language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music, physical development, and health.
At the beginning of their school year, children are tested, so teachers know where they are in terms of being ready to learn. If your child is not reading or doing basic math computations at the appropriate level, then there are strategies available to help them catch up.
What Happens After the Program is Over?
After your child completes the program, they either move on to kindergarten or wait until next year to start the program again. If your child goes to public school, they must start kindergarten following their participation in the fall. However, if your child attends a private school, they are not required to attend kindergarten and can begin at any time.
Contact My First Years Preschool to Enroll Your Child in the Free VPK Program
If you are interested in a free voluntary pre-kindergarten program, please get in touch with My First Years Preschool at 954-252-7840 to know more.