A constitutional amendment passed by Florida’s voters in Nov. 2002 required a voluntary prekindergarten program for all four-year-old children by fall 2005. House Bill 1-A was signed into law by Governor Bush on January 2, 2005, creating a program designed to prepare four-year-olds for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. The program allows a parent to enroll his or her eligible child (four years old by September 1 and residing in Florida) in a free VPK program. The program is voluntary for children and providers.
The VPK program began in the 2005-2006 school year. Public, private, and faith-based providers may be eligible to deliver the program depending on whether they meet the minimum standards required in law.
The first summer VPK program will be offered in 2006. Children may participate in the summer VPK program the summer immediately before the school year for which the child is eligible for kindergarten.
A child must be 4 years of age before September 1, and reside in Florida to participate in the VPK program.
You may apply for the VPK program at http://www.vpkflorida.org. Parents are encouraged to check the website periodically for updates. Once you complete the application, your local early learning coalition will contact you for further information and to assist you in completing the application process. If you have any questions, you can find the contact information for your local coalition by clicking on the link “Where do I go for VPK information in my area?” and selecting the county in which you live.
The Legislature created two different options for parents:
VPK providers have flexibility in structuring the hours per day and days per week to meet the required instructional hours. For example, if a program is 180 days (similar to a school-year calendar), it would offer 3 hours of instruction each day to meet the 540-hour requirement. A provider could also choose to offer a 6 hour-per-day program for 90 days. Providers may consider other options, including offering a morning or afternoon program or having a program for 2 or 3 days a week instead of every day.
The VPK program places no limit on the number of children served by each provider. It is each provider’s decision of how many children to serve.
The VPK program is FREE for eligible children, regardless of family income. Providers are not permitted to charge a registration fee or require parents to agree to any additional services. State law does not, however, prohibit a provider from charging registration fees for programs or care that are not part of the VPK program.
No. Florida law specifies that each parent is responsible for the transportation of his or her child to and from the VPK program. Some VPK providers may offer transportation services, and families are encouraged to explore these options before choosing a VPK provider.
No. The VPK program is voluntary.
Yes the Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Program in only open to children who turn fours years of age by September 1st and reside in the State of Florida.
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