Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Providers
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.
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 Curriculum for Providers on Probation
Each private VPK provider and public school identified as a provider on probation must implement an approved curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, designed to prepare a student for early literacy, provide for instruction in early math skills, enhance age-appropriate progress of students in attaining the performance standards adopted by the department and support student learning gains through differentiated instruction that shall be measured by the coordinated screening and progress monitoring programs.
VPK Specialized Instructional Services Education Program (VPK SIS)
A child who has a disability as evidenced by a current individual educational plan (IEP) and is age-eligible for VPK becomes eligible for specialized instructional services (SIS). 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.
Certain categories of certified providers are approved automatically and require no forms be submitted to the Department of Education.
- Individuals certified pursuant to section 393.17, F.S., or licensed pursuant to chapter 490, F.S., or chapter 491, F.S., for applied behavior analysis services as defined under Sections 627.6686 and 641.31098, F.S.
- Speech-language pathologists licensed under Section 468.1185, F.S.
- Occupational therapists licensed under chapter 468, Part III, F.S.
- Physical therapists licensed under chapter 486, F.S.
- Clinical social workers licensed under chapter 491, F.S.
- Psychologists licensed under chapter 490, F.S.
The following SIS applicants should use DOE Form VPK-SIS1.
- Listening and Spoken Language Specialists™ certified by the Alexander Graham Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language.
- Board-certified behavior analysts certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® pursuant to Rule 65G-4.0011, F.A.C.
If an applicant for SIS has a license or certification in an applicable field of study not covered above, he or she should use DOE Form VPK-SIS2.
A parent can also apply to have a provider approved for SIS (DOE Form VPK-SIS3). To be approved, the provider's services must:
- Be consistent with the child's individual educational plan.
- Be provided by a service provider licensed or certified in an applicable field of study.
- Be delivered according to professionally accepted standards.
- Be delivered in accordance with the performance standards adopted by the department for use in VPK.
- Address the age-appropriate progress of the child in developing the capabilities, capacities and skills required under s. 1(b), Art. IX of the State Constitution.
For more information about becoming a VPK provider, please contact the early learning coalition for your county. You can use the Early Learning Coalition Directory to find your county's coalition.