VPK Program (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten)

What i s VPK?

VPK stands for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, and it is an education program funded through the Florida Department of Education. The state of Florida guarantees a year of pre-kindergarten vpkpreschool education free of charge to every 4-year-old child in the state. The goal of the VPK education program is to enable every child to be ready to learn by the time he or she enters kindergarten.

Several area preschools are certified to offer free VPK programs, but there are tremendous differences in quality. For this reason, Florida preschools are reviewed by the Florida Department of Education each year and given a score based on the following criteria:

Provider Verification

VPK teachers must have earned at minimum a Childhood Development Associate degree (CDA) or equivalent (CDAE), or
A bachelor’s degree in Child Development or higher, or
A bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field with at least 6 credit hours in early childhood education or child development and at least 480 hours of teaching experience with children from birth to 8 years of age.
Teachers must complete a 3 hour class on VPK Sate Standards and 5 hours of Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors.
VPK Curriculum must meet standards set by the Florida Department of Education

Children who graduate from a VPK program are screened during their kindergarten year for benchmarks associated with kindergarten readiness standards.
These scores determine the VPK provider school’s rate. The higher the kindergarten readiness screening results for students who graduated from a certain VPK provider program (like the one at Shadycreek), the higher the provider school’s rating.
Shadycreek Preschool earned a perfect score of 300 the first two years and continues with high scores each year. The Kindergarten assessments was changed to 200 in 2008 and changed again to 100 in 2010 and our scores continue at 90-100 %.
Other schools may have been given a low performing rate. When researching preschools, make sure you investigate the school’s kindergarten readiness performance rate. If it’s low, ask the director what steps are being taken to improve.

How to Register for VPK

Your child is eligible the year he/she is 4 years old by September 1st.  You will apply for a VPK Voucher through the Early Learning Coalition Of Pinellas (the link is provided below).  The application requires your child's Social Security number, a birth certificate and proof of residency.  The application process begins in January for the coming year.  Vouchers are sent to you via email and this is the form (VPK voucher) you will need to register at your chosen school.     

Shadycreek begins accepting child registrations and VPK vouchers in February.

To apply for a VPK Certificate of Eligibility click here.