Studies prove time and again that all children benefit from the experience of early learning. In keeping with this, children of Florida residents are eligible to attend Florida’s free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program, also known as VPK. Here are five things you should know about this program.
Who is Eligible?
Children who turn four years old by September 1 are eligible to participate in this Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten. Once a child is in VPK, he or she remains eligible until they begin kindergarten or turn 6 years old during the school year.
Applying for Certification
Before a child receives approval for VPK, you must first go through the certification process. This involves submitting an application to the state’s Office of Early Learning along with a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate and proof of residency.
Read more about the application process here.
You Have Choices!
When applying for VPK certification, you can choose between a school-year Pre-Kindergarten program in a public school or one offered by a private Pre-Kindergarten provider. When you choose Bayside Discovery Center, you will take the voucher to the school, so that it can be submitted to the Early Learning Coalition.
Yes! Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten is FREE!
Your child will get a head start for kindergarten without cost. The state of Florida pays for VPK. This benefit is independent of income qualifications so everyone can take advantage of it for their child.
VPK Prepares Your Child for Kindergarten
According to the Florida Department of Education, 82 percent of children who participated in VPK in 2013 were prepared and ready for kindergarten. Of the children who didn’t attend VPK 53 percent were ready for kindergarten.
The VPK positions at Bayside fill up quickly, so it is important to secure your place early. In addition to securing a voucher you will need to fill out a Bayside Discovery Center registration form. Learn more about the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program offered at the Bayside Discovery Center by calling (321) 728-8696 to schedule a visit.