Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) provides free educational, curriculum-driven prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds in Florida regardless of family income.
Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK)
The Florida Department of Education, through the Division of Early Learning, oversees the program at the State level, while the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (ELCHC) administers the program locally. Legally operating child care programs (Private Child Care Providers, Public Schools, accredited Private Schools, Family Child Care Homes, and Faith Based Providers) may enter into a contract with the Early Learning Coalition to offer the program if they meet the contractual requirements. This gives child care programs and schools an opportunity to serve the community and also participate in quality programs and initiatives through the Early Learning Coalition.
The School Year program must be 540 instructional hours, which is usually a half-day program and the Summer program must be 300 instructional hours. Eligible Providers can set their own schedule of these VPK instructional hours, as long as they fall within the established parameters. School Year programs can be offered starting on the first day Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) begins (which is usually around August 10th) and ending by June 30th. Summer Programs can begin as early as May 1 and must end before the HCPS calendar begins for the School Year. During the School Year, many providers schedule 3 or 4 hour VPK programs and the parents choose to pay tuition for additional child care beyond the VPK hours. VPK providers can not require supplemental fees associated with the VPK program.
Some benefits of being a VPK Provider include:
- Support the families you serve by providing access to free high-quality prekindergarten
- Professional development and training opportunities available for Teachers and Directors in topics aligned with best practice for Early Childhood Education
- Starting August 2022: Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observations provided to measure quality child-teacher interactions that guide professional development strategies
- Starting August 2022: Progress Monitoring tool that measures student progress in meeting the age-appropriate expectations in early literacy and early math skills
- Other workforce and quality grants and funding offered exclusively to Providers contracted with the ELC
- Supports from the ELCHC on Kindergarten Transition
Some requirements to be a VPK Provider include but are not limited to:
- Minimum qualifications and credentials for VPK directors and teachers
- Use of a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, supports learning gains through differentiated instructions and is designed to enhance the progress of students attaining the State’s performance standards
- Liability insurance coverage and worker’s compensation insurance (if required by state)
- Participation in E-Verify
- A Provider Profile in the Division of Early Learning’s Provider Portal (information is used referred to families for Child Care Resource and Referral)
- Minimum health & safety requirements
- Participation in state approved assessment tools
Become a VPK Provider
If you would like to become a VPK Provider or you would like to learn more, please fill out the information below and a ELCHC team member will reach out to you.
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