The Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) was implemented in 2002 in order to give all of Florida's four year olds access to a free, quality prekindergarten educational experience regardless of the family income. Parents have the option of choosing the provider that meets their family’s needs. These options include: private and faith-based child care centers, private and public schools and licensed family child care homes.
The Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) is designed to prepare Florida's children for kindergarten and develop the skills they need to become good readers and successful students. VPK includes standards for literacy skills, appropriate curricula, substantial instruction periods, manageable class sizes with qualified instructors and strict accountability. Parents have the option of enrolling children in a school-year program that consists of 540 instructional hours, OR a summer program consisting of 300 instructional hours. The Early Learning Coalition of Lake County administers the VPK Program at the local level which includes verifying the qualifications of child care providers, providing families with enrollment support and ensuring that the legislative requirements of the VPK Program are met.
The day-to-day management of the program is the responsibility of the Office of Early Learning (OEL); licensing and credentialing is the responsibility of the Department of Children and Families (DCF); and the creation of standards, curriculum, as well as accountability is the responsibility of the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). All three agencies work together to provide leadership and support to the local early learning coalitions, school districts, public and private providers to ensure the successful implementation of quality prekindergarten education programs for Florida’s four year old children.
Becoming a VPK Provider?
A VPK private provider must be a licensed child care facility, a licensed family day care home (registered homes are not eligible), a licensed large family child care home, or a nonpublic school or faith-based child care provider that is exempt from licensure. Each private provider must meet one of the options below:
OPTION 1.Be accredited by an accrediting association that is a member of the National Council for Private School Accreditation, the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation, or the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools
OPTION 2. Hold a current Gold Seal Quality Care designation; OR
OPTION 3. Be a licensed child care provider and demonstrate to the Early Learning Coalition that the provider meets the VPK program requirements, including, but not limited to, credentials and background screenings of instructors, minimum and maximum class sizes, director credentials, and developmentally appropriate curriculum.
Unlicensed family day care homes and informal child care providers are NOT eligible to participate in the program.
For more information please contact the Coalition at (352) 435-0566 Monday through Friday, 8-5 PM
VPK Forms & Policies
Training and Resources for VPK Providers
Training Management System
The Florida Department of Children and Families, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Education Office of Early Learning, has introduced the TRAINING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. ALL VPK teachers, assistants, and directors enrolling in 'face-to-face' VPK trainings and DOE approved on-line trainings. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ON LINE. This new system not only allows providers to register for trainings, but will also allow you to print certificates upon completion of the training. The VPK face-to-face training courses are free of charge and include free CEU's.
VPK Teacher's Guide and Child Portfolio
The Department of Education has created a new teacher resource available to all Voluntary Pre- Kindergarten (VPK) programs. The What I Learned in VPK! Teacher's Guide and accompanying Child Portfolio are designed as a means for programs to communicate with parents about a child's progress in meeting the VPK Education Standards by the end of the VPK experience. The Teacher's Guide gives valuable information about how a teacher can complete a Child Portfolio for each child to give to parents at the end of VPK. These two documents can be viewed and printed using the links below.
What I Learned in VPK! Teacher's Guide
What I Learned in VPK! Child Portfolio
VPK Teacher Toolkit Now Available!
On April 6, 2009 DOE announced the availability of the VPK Teacher Toolkit. This new online resource is available free to all VPK teachers, assistants and directors and is designed to support early learning in the VPK classroom. The Language & Vocabulary folder, the first of five resource folders, supports language development through the use of implicit and explicit instructional strategies.
Visit the VPK Teacher Toolkit