A constitutional amendment passed by Florida’s voters in November 2002 requires a voluntary pre-kindergarten program for all four year-old children by fall 2005. The program is designed to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten and build the foundations for their educational success and is provided at no cost to the parent. The program is voluntary for children and providers. See Recent Changes in VPK Legislation.
FREE VPK is available to all Florida four-year-olds and five-year olds who reside in the State of Florida. Your child must be four years of age on or before September 1st of the school year in which they will attend VPK. If your child’s 4th birthday falls between February 2nd and September 1st in a calendar year, you may choose to post-pone enrolling your child in VPK that year and wait until the following year when your child is 5 years old. Parents may choose between a 540 hour school year program and a 300 hour summer program. VPK is offered by a variety of public and private providers throughout Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties.
Each provider may select or design the curriculum that the provider or school uses to implement the Voluntary PreKindergarten Education Program. The curriculum must be developmentally appropriate and must:
- Be designed to prepare a student for early literacy.
- Enhance the age-appropriate progress of students in attaining the VPK Performance Standards
- Prepare students to be ready for kindergarten based upon the statewide kindergarten screening
Private VPK providers and public schools that are placed on probation due to inadequate screening scores for two consecutive years will be required to use a Department of Education (DOE) approved curriculum.