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What is Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK)?

Florida was one of the first states in the country to offer free prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds regardless of family income. Since the program began in 2005-06, more than 2.6 million children have benefited from the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK). Data collected by the Florida Department of Education shows that children who participate in VPK are much more ready for kindergarten than children who do not participate in VPK.

Parents can select from one of several program options available in different educational settings from private and public providers and specialized instructional services providers. Providers have flexibility to structure daily hours per week to meet the required number of instructional hours.

For an overview of VPK, check out the VPK Fact Sheet in English (PDF) and VPK Fact Sheet in Spanish (PDF).

Who is Eligible for VPK?

To be eligible for VPK, children must live in Florida and be 4 years old on or before September 1 of the current school year. If their fourth birthday falls February 2 through September 1 in a calendar year, parents can postpone enrolling their child in VPK that year and wait until the following year when their child is 5.

School-Year Program - 540 Instructional Hours

Class sizes are not to exceed 11 students with a single lead instructor or up to 20 students with a lead instructor and an assistant. Instructors must have a minimum of a Florida Child Care Professional Credential.

Summer Program - 300 Instructional Hours

Classes are not to exceed 12 students with a single lead instructor. Instructors must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

VPK Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) Education Program

Takes place outside a traditional classroom setting and is designed for 4-year-olds with special needs who have current individualized educational plans from local school districts.

The VPK Specialized Educational Services or VPK SIS is available for age-eligible children with disabilities as evidenced by a current individual educational plan (IEP). The Department of Education approves SIS providers whose services meet statutory standards, maintains a list of approved providers, and notifies each school district and early learning coalition of the approved provider list. Parents with questions about accessing VPK SIS for their child or VPK SIS providers with questions contact your local early learning coalition.

For an overview of VPK SIS, check out the VPK SIS Fact Sheet in English (PDF) and VPK SIS Fact Sheet in Spanish (PDF).

How to Apply for VPK?

Parents must:

To learn more about eligibility criteria, contact your county’s early learning coalition or call the Child Care Resource and Referral Network at 1-866-357-3239.