Free VPK for 4 Year Olds

What is Voluntary Prekindergarten?

Voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) is a state program designed to prepare every child in Florida for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. 

Why should I enroll my child in VPK?

  • Studies have shown that children who participate in VPK are more “ready” to enter kindergarten than those who do not participate.
  • Children who are kindergarten-ready have a 90 percent probability rate of reading on the correct level in third grade.
  • Children who do well on their third grade reading tests are 90 percent more likely to graduate high school with their peers.
  • Early childhood development directly influences economic, health, and social outcomes.
  • Develop work readiness “soft skills” and social skills, teamwork problem-solving, ability to negotiate.
  • Are 50 percent less likely to need special education/remediation.

About Voluntary Prekindergarten

VPK gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate curricula, substantial instruction periods, lower class sizes and qualified instructors. All eligible children are entitled to participate in one of three VPK program options. The VPK mission is to ensure that all children are intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically ready to enter school and ready to learn, fully recognizing the crucial role of parents as their child’s first teacher.

Parents may choose one of three VPK program options using their VPK certificate:

School-Year Program

540 hours of instruction that occurs throughout the traditional School Year

Summer Program

300 instructional hours; children may participate in VPK the summer before the school year the child will attend kindergarten.

VPK Specialized Instructional Services

Certified or licensed professionals provide instruction or therapy in individual or small group settings for eligible children with special needs. The child must have a current individualized educational plan (IEP) from a local school district.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is eligible for VPK?

    Any child that is four years old on or before September 1st AND is a Florida resident is eligible for VPK enrollment.

  • Can I take my child to a VPK provider that is not in Hillsborough County?

    Although children must be a resident of Florida, parents/guardians must register their children for VPK in the county that they are planning to attend. If your child will attend VPK in a different county, the parent/guardian must register for VPK through the Early Learning Coalition in which they will attend VPK, or if there is an approved certificate please request a county transfer.

  • I did my application for VPK. Now what?

    Your child will need their VPK certificate given to their provider before they can start VPK. Processing time for your child’s VPK certificate can take up to 10 calendar days. If you wish to check the status of your application, please log back into your Family Portal account.

  • What if I want to change VPK providers?

    A child can have multiple re-enrollments within the year. The first one is granted and no documentation is required; after that, the child needs to qualify under very specific reasons and upload supporting documentation, or if there is an approved certificate they may request a county transfer.

  • Can my child go to both school year VPK and summer VPK?

    A child may attend either school year or summer. Also, if a parent/guardian is using VPK SIS, the child may not attend VPK school year or summer.

  • How long is VPK?

    Usually, school year VPK is a part-day program. Summer VPK is typically a full-day program. Your chosen VPK provider will have specific details on class times.

Additional Resources

Tutorial Videos

How to create an account in the Family Portal

How to apply for VPK in the Family Portal