Ten years ago, Florida became one of the first states to offer free pre-kindergarten programs. It now ranks #1 in the country for access to this level of early education, serving about 80 percent of four year-olds in the state.
The Florida VPK (or voluntary pre-kindergarten) program offers two options that are available to all children regardless of income:
- A school-year program that totals 540 hours. This typically translates to three hours a day during the school year — though many parents pay for additional “wrap-around” hours.
- A summer program of 300 hours instead of the school year.
The purpose of VPK programs is to introduce structured learning to children at an early age. They are taught skills and academics such as how to tell the difference between letters and numbers, and how to match letters with sounds, as well as other play and social activities. VPK provides developmentally appropriate instruction and activities to prepare children for kindergarten.
VPK focuses on small class sizes (a parent-to-student radio of 1-to-11 or 2-to-20 during the school year; 1-to-12 in the summer) and provides the option of Specialized Instructional Services for children with special needs. All VPK instructors must have a minimum of a child development associate degree for the school-year program, or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood or related fields for the summer program.
Assessments conducted by public school districts in 2013 showed that nearly 82 percent of children who completed a VPK program were ready for kindergarten, compared to about 53 percent of those who did not participate in VPK. That was the fifth consecutive year of an increase in the preparedness rate for those that completed VPK!
We are proud to offer a full VPK program at the Kids Depot Preschool Academies family of Florida child care centers. Click here to learn more about our VPK programs or request a free tour of the center closest to you.
Kids Depot Preschool Academies offer VPK programs in Palm Beach Gardens, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, Lighthouse Point, Jensen Beach, Palm City, and Stuart.