Voluntary Prekindergarten Program
The Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) is a free program for all 4 and 5 year-olds who reside in
Florida and are 4 years old on or before September 1 of each year.
Why is VPK important?
VPK is designed to prepare 4-year-olds for kindergarten, to help build the foundation for their educational success. Our program provides a play-based learning experience that supports the development of early literacy, executive functioning, and social emotional skills. According to the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener, children who participate in VPK are better prepared for success in school.
What are parents’ options?
Parents have the option to enroll in a school-year program that consists of three or more hours a day
instruction, or a summer program that is a full day. We also offer Specialized Instructional Services,
which takes place outside a traditional classroom setting to assist 4-year-olds with special needs.
Free for all 4-year-old in Florida
No registration fees
Parents choose where their child learns
Focused on reading, writing and social skills
School Year Program
Length: 540 instructional hours, average 3-6 hours per day. Before and after care is available with most VPK providers
Settings: Private Child Care Providers
Class Size: 4-20 children
Instructors: Must have a minimum of a Child Development Associate (CDA) or higher. A second adult is required for classes of 12 or more children
Length: 300 instructional hours, average 6-8 hours per day. Before and after care is available with most VPK providers
Settings: Private Child Care Providers, Public Schools and Head Start
Class Size: 4-12 children
Instructors: Certified Teacher or Bachelor’s or higher degree in an early learning field
FULL DAY Program
Provides VPK-eligible children–ages 4 to 5–access to full-day, full-year scholarships (includes school year AND summer care)
Assists non-working or low-income families who may not meet income or job requirements for SR scholarships
Provided by select high quality early learning centers throughout Pinellas County. Click Here for a list of providers
Families MUST enroll in VPK before qualifying for PreK All Day. Click Here for more details
2019-2020 VPK Registration is OPEN
Register for VPK
2019 2020 VPK Providers
VIDEO- VPK Application
VIDEO- Family Portal Login
VPK Application Guide
VPK Application Guide – Spanish
We are now offering FULL DAY CARE for VPK students, to cover the cost of before and after school care! Once enrolled in the VPK program, visit elcpinellas.org/PKAD to learn more about our PreK All Day program and apply
Latest forms and documents for Providers
Sign up for VPK enews updates
Eligibility and Application Process
How long does it take to receive the VPK certificate once I submit my application?
Normal processing can take up to 10 business days to receive your VPK certificate.
What would be considered an appropriate cause to dis-enroll a child?
The following are examples of appropriate reasons for dis-enrolling your child: medical reasons, job transfer, and changing home address.
If a parent chooses to not enroll their child in VPK will it present a problem when the child enters kindergarten?
No, participation is completely voluntary. Many parents choose to provide school readiness activities at home.
Does my child have to attend a Voluntary Prekindergarten program?
No, participation is completely voluntary.
Can children attend more than one VPK session?
A child may only attend one state paid VPK session either during the school year or summer session.
Can children cross county lines to participate in the VPK program?
Yes, the law only requires the child to be a Florida resident. Parents/Guardians must register their children for VPK in the county that they are planning to attend in.Example: if the child resides in Pinellas County but would like to attend VPK in Pasco County, the parent must register for VPK through the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.
Will there be an enrollment deadline?
Enrollment is continuous but after a certain date in the school session enrollment may stop and then children will be considered for another session.
How do I check the status of my online VPK application?
All VPK online applications will be processed in the order they were submitted. Please allow time for the ELC staff to review your application and process it in order for you receive your certificate.
- If you have not received an email you should check your SPAM email as occasionally the VPK online emails are directed there.
- You can also log back into your account to see the status of your application.
- If then you are unable to locate any communication regarding your application you may call our VPK Online Specialists at 727-400-4411.
How can I enroll my child?
Parents or Legal guardians can register online at Florida VPK Family Portal.
Who is eligible for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Program?
- Any child who is four-years-old on or before September 1st
- The child who is a Florida resident.
What happens if a parent removes their child from the program for a vacation?
Depending on the length of the vacation and the Providers’ attendance policy, the parent and child could lose their opportunity to participate in the VPK program. Parents must know this before they enroll their child and choose their VPK program accordingly.
Can a parent move their child mid-session?
Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to carefully choose a program that best meets the needs of their child and family situation. A consistent and stable VPK experience will allow the best opportunity for the child to be successful in the program and future success in school. The Coalition can provide helpful information and tools to assist parents in making their decision. Parents and guardians may contact the CCR&R department to request information at 727-210-4211.
Is this just a one-time program?
The Voluntary Pre K program is the result of an amendment to the Constitution of Florida. Although the future may hold changes, for now the program is currently available.
If I need care beyond the 3, 4, or 5 VPK hours will there be transportation available to take my child to another care setting?
No, there is not state funded transportation provided for this program. You may wish to choose a program that has extended hours to better serve your family. Find a VPK Provider
Can my child attend more than one session of VPK?
No, a child may only attend one (1) session either the school year or the summer session.
How many times a year will this program be offered?
There are school year (fall) sessions which typically begin in August or September and a summer session which typically begins in May or June of each year.
When will the program begin?
Most fall VPK Programs will begin in August of each year and summer programs will begin in May. Each provider is free to choose their own length of core instructional VPK day and the start and end dates of their program. Please refer to the individual Provider Profiles under the Provider Listing section of this web site for the exact start and end dates of each participating VPK provider.
What schools will be offering the VPK Program?
Various private preschools, family child care homes and the public school system have certified Voluntary Prekindergarten programs. A listing of the certified VPK sites can be obtained on the Find a VPK Provider page of the Coalition’s website or by contacting the Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211. As new sites are certified, their names are added to the list. Parents may want to view the listing often as the site may change.
Finding a VPK Provider
What if there is no room in the Voluntary Prekindergarten classroom for my child?
A class may have no more than 20 children in the classroom during the VPK program school year session; 12 children during the summer session and no less than 4 children during the summer and the school session. Once the VPK part of day ends, the less restrictive licensing regulation for class size and staff ratios can be followed.
Will faith based providers be allowed to participate?
Yes, faith based providers may participate in offering Voluntary Prekindergarten as long as they meet the basic requirements of staff, curriculum, and other quality indicators and parents are fully informed in advance of enrollment.
How do parents choose a location for this program?
There are two methods for a parent to choose a VPK program. First, the child care providers can and should market their programs to recruit parents.
Second, if a parent needs assistance they may contact the Coalition’s Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211. When a child care provider is approved to provide VPK services they will be asked to provide a profile of their program. This profile will include as examples: the hours/days that the VPK program will be offered, the credentials of the staff, whether they provide extended day services, and the curriculum the preschool offers. Parents will then be responsible for enrolling their child in one of the certified VPK programs that still has openings. Parents can find these VPK provider profiles by searching the Coalition’s Find a VPK Provider page of the website.
How do parents find a certified Voluntary Prekindergarten provider?
If the parent does not already have their child at a location offering a Voluntary Prekindergarten program, they may call Child Care Resource and Referral at 727-210-4211 and request a list of approved/certified VPK programs. In addition, parents can search for VPK providers on the Coalition’s website at Find a VPK Provider. Find a VPK Provider
Payment and Fees
Who will pay for those remaining hours?
Parents are responsible for paying for any additional hours of care they require beyond the VPK day. If eligible (income eligible), parents may apply for School Readiness Scholarship School Readiness Scholarship to assist in the cost of extended day care through the Early Learning Coalition at 727-400-4411.
Will four-year-old children still be eligible for scholarships from the Early Learning Coalition?
Yes, qualified four-year-old children will still be eligible for scholarships from the Early Learning Coalition based on program requirements and availability of funding. Income eligible families who still need extended care for their children after the VPK day could access scholarships that will cover this part of their care.
Can the preschool require registration fees or additional fees for field trips, etc.?
You as a parent cannot be refused enrollment due to failure to pay registration or other fees for the core VPK day.
How do I become a VPK Provider?
Any new providers that wish to offer the VPK program during the program year should call Ana Pizarro at 727-400-4489 for further information and next steps.
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