Voluntary Prekindergarten Program
VPK Program Overview
Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Program is designed to prepare four-year-olds for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. All children who turn 4-years-old on or before September 1st and reside in Florida are eligible to attend a VPK program. Parents must provide proof of the child’s age and residency during registration. The program helps to ensure that all children are intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially ready to enter school and ready to learn, fully recognizing the crucial role of parents as their child’s first teacher.
Free for all 4-year-olds in Florida
No registration fees
Parents choose where their child learns
Focused on reading, writing and social skills
School Year Program
- Length: 540 instructional hours, average 3-6 hours per day. Before and after care is available with most VPK providers.
- Settings: Private Child Care Providers
- Class Size: 4-20 children
- Instructors: Must have a minimum of a Child Development Associate (CDA) or higher. A second adult is required for classes of 12 or more children.
- Length: 300 instructional hours, average 6-8 hours per day. Before and after care is available with most VPK providers.
- Settings: Private Child Care Providers, Public Schools and Head Start
- Class Size: 4-12 children
- Instructors: Certified Teacher or Bachelor’s or higher degree in an early learning field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eligibility and Application Process
Normal processing can take up to 10 business days to receive your VPK certificate.
The following are examples of appropriate reasons for dis-enrolling your child: medical reasons, job transfer, and changing home address.
No, participation is completely voluntary. Many parents choose to provide school readiness activities at home.
No, participation is completely voluntary.
A child may only attend one state paid VPK session either during the school year or summer session.
Yes, the law only requires the child to be a Florida resident. Parents/Guardians must register their children for VPK in the county that they are planning to attend in.Example: if the child resides in Pinellas County but would like to attend VPK in Pasco County, the parent must register for VPK through the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.
Enrollment is continuous but after a certain date in the school session enrollment may stop and then children will be considered for another session.
All VPK online applications will be processed in the order they were submitted. Please allow time for the ELC staff to review your application and process it in order for you receive your certificate.
- If you have not received an email you should check your SPAM email as occasionally the VPK online emails are directed there.
- You can also log back into your account to see the status of your application.
- If then you are unable to locate any communication regarding your application you may call our VPK Online Specialists at 727-400-4411.
Parents or Legal guardians can register online at Register for VPK
Any child who is four-years-old on or before September 1st
The child who is a Florida resident.
Depending on the length of the vacation and the Providers’ attendance policy, the parent and child could lose their opportunity to participate in the VPK program. Parents must know this before they enroll their child and choose their VPK program accordingly.
Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to carefully choose a program that best meets the needs of their child and family situation. A consistent and stable VPK experience will allow the best opportunity for the child to be successful in the program and future success in school. The Coalition can provide helpful information and tools to assist parents in making their decision. Parents and guardians may contact the CCR&R department to request information at 727-210-4211.
The Voluntary Pre K program is the result of an amendment to the Constitution of Florida. Although the future may hold changes, for now the program is currently available.
No, there is not state funded transportation provided for this program. You may wish to choose a program that has extended hours to better serve your family. Find a VPK Provider
No, a child may only attend one (1) session either the school year or the summer session.
There are school year (fall) sessions which typically begin in August or September and a summer session which typically begins in May or June of each year.
Most fall VPK Programs will begin in August of each year and summer programs will begin in May. Each provider is free to choose their own length of core instructional VPK day and the start and end dates of their program. Please refer to the individual Provider Profiles under the Provider Listing section of this web site for the exact start and end dates of each participating VPK provider.
Various private preschools, family child care homes and the public school system have certified Voluntary Prekindergarten programs. A listing of the certified VPK sites can be obtained on the Find a VPK Provider page of the Coalition’s website or by contacting the Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211. As new sites are certified, their names are added to the list. Parents may want to view the listing often as the site may change.
Finding a VPK Provider
A class may have no more than 20 children in the classroom during the VPK program school year session; 12 children during the summer session and no less than 4 children during the summer and the school session. Once the VPK part of day ends, the less restrictive licensing regulation for class size and staff ratios can be followed.
Yes, faith based providers may participate in offering Voluntary Prekindergarten as long as they meet the basic requirements of staff, curriculum, and other quality indicators and parents are fully informed in advance of enrollment.
There are two methods for a parent to choose a VPK program. First, the child care providers can and should market their programs to recruit parents.
Second, if a parent needs assistance they may contact the Coalition’s Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211. When a child care provider is approved to provide VPK services they will be asked to provide a profile of their program. This profile will include as examples: the hours/days that the VPK program will be offered, the credentials of the staff, whether they provide extended day services, and the curriculum the preschool offers. Parents will then be responsible for enrolling their child in one of the certified VPK programs that still has openings. Parents can find these VPK provider profiles by searching the Coalition’s Find a VPK Provider page of the website.
If the parent does not already have their child at a location offering a Voluntary Prekindergarten program, they may call Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211 and request a list of approved/certified VPK programs. In addition, parents can search for VPK providers on the Coalition’s website at Find a VPK Provider. Find a VPK Provider
Payment and Fees
Parents are responsible for paying for any additional hours of care they require beyond the VPK day. If eligible (income eligible), parents may apply for School Readiness Scholarship School Readiness Scholarship to assist in the cost of extended day care through the Early Learning Coalition at 727-400-4411.
Yes, qualified four-year-old children will still be eligible for scholarships from the Early Learning Coalition based on program requirements and availability of funding. Income eligible families who still need extended care for their children after the VPK day could access scholarships that will cover this part of their care.
You as a parent cannot be refused enrollment due to failure to pay registration or other fees for the core VPK day.
Any new providers that wish to offer the VPK program during the program year are required to come in to the Coalition and meet with their VPK Certification Specialist. We recommend the Director and the person who will be handling the paperwork aspect of the program attend this meeting. Please note it is not necessary for every teacher to attend. For more information or to schedule a meetings please contact:
Jen Caccia: 727-400-4412 for providers in alpha A-J
Amanda Urdal: 727-400-4466 for providers in alpha K-O
Destiny Woodward: 727-400-4491 for providers in alpha P-Z
Sponsored by Florida’s Office of Early Learning