A Message From the ELC / Parents / Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

The Voluntary PreKindergarten program (VPK) is a legislatively mandated program designed to prepare Florida's four-year-olds for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. Participation is free for all four-year-olds born on or before September 1st of each year who are Florida residents.

To register your child for the VPK program follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Obtain one form of documentation for proof of birth and one form of documentation for proof of residency. See list of documentation items below.

Step 2: Click here to register your child.

Need Help? Call us at 1-866-973-9030 or email vpk@elcbigbend.org. Computers and scanners are available at all of our ELC locations. For locations and hours click here.

Florida Residency Documentation

Parents must provide documentation to prove their child lives in Florida during the time they will be attending the VPK program. A child living in Florida is eligible for VPK with proper documentation.

Documentation supporting your residency:

  • Current and Valid Florida driver's license
  • Utility bill
  • Pay stub

Age Verification Documentation

Parent must provide documentation to provide their child is 4 years old on or before September 1 of the program year in which they are seeking enrollment.

Documentation supporting your child's age:

  • An original or certified copy of the child's birth record
  • An immunization record signed by a health official or doctor
  • A passport or certificate of arrival in the United States
  • A valid military dependent identification card

Parents of participating children can choose from two program options for the VPK program:

  1. School Year Session - VPK programs that operate during the school year must offer 540 hours of instruction. Each program sets their own calendar at the beginning of the year. The majority of school year VPK programs offer a 3 hour/day program for 180 days (often mirroring the public school year calendar). There are programs that offer a 6 hour/day program for one half of the school year.
  2. Summer VPK Program - VPK programs that operate during the Summer must offer 300 hours of instruction with a start date after May 1 and end date prior to the start of the school year in public schools. Most program options offer a 6-9 hour day between June through August. All school districts are required by the VPK law to offer a summer program if there are any eligible programs wanting to participate.

Click here (pdf 186.47 kB) to view a listing of approved VPK providers for Fall 2013-2014.

Click here to view a listing of approved 2014 VPK providers for summer. Coming Soon!

Click here to view a listing of approved VPK providers for Fall 2014-2015. Coming Soon!

Voluntary Prekindergarten Program Provider Readiness Rates

The Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) Readiness Rates measure how well a private or public VPK provider prepared four-year-olds for kindergarten. VPK providers receive a rate, which is based on children’s performance on the measures of the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) – a screening instrument given to children within the first 30 days of attending kindergarten.

FLKRS consists of a subset of the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS™) and two measures from the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR). ECHOS™ is an observational tool that is used to screen a broad spectrum of skills, knowledge and behaviors that a student demonstrates upon entering kindergarten. For purposes of kindergarten screening, the two FAIR measures that are used include the Broad Screen/Progress Monitoring Tool which screens letter naming and phonemic awareness skills, and the Broad Diagnostic Inventory which evaluates listening comprehension and vocabulary.

To review a VPK Provider's Readiness Rate, click here.

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