Florida has many perks for raising your family, whether you’re a permanent resident or a military family stationed here temporarily. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of a Parkland Academy VPK program to promote the development of your preschooler in a safe, engaging, and dynamic classroom.
What is A VPK Program?
VPK is an acronym for a Voluntary Pre-kindergarten program and is free to Florida residents and their children who are four years of age on or before September first. As of July 2016, Florida state law allows parents with children who were born between February second and September first of a calendar school year to enroll the following year when their child reaches five years of age. Enrollment begins for Parkland’s VPK program in March. The school year begins around mid-August and includes 540 instructional hours.
The National Education Association sites several reports and research that the early learning classroom has a measurable impact on childhood development. Since the Fall of 2017, Parkland follows standards established by the Office of Early Learning (OEL) called the Florida Early Learning and Development Standards in eight areas of childhood development and assessment. As of 2018, on average, 80% of Florida’s 4-year-olds are enrolled in a VPK program.
Benefits of Parkland VPK Program At A Glance:
- Cognitive and executive functioning development.
- Early literacy and language skill development.
- Manage and mitigate behavioral problems as they prepare for kindergarten.
- Social skills, self-esteem, and character-building environment.
- Parents have more time in their day to focus on work and other obligations.
At Parkland, staff and instructors follow best practices in the care and instruction of your child. The Parkland VPK program applies structural and experiential-play education where children learn through active engagement with instructors and peers. This includes structured play to identify and categorize animals, seasons, names, and colors. Games are also based on an experiential model – learning the alphabet or utilizing their imagination in creating characters. Today is space day! Are you a star or the sun or the moon?
In a Parkland VPK classroom, children learn important social skills such as emotional cues: How do we respond when a classmate is upset? How do we communicate when we are sleepy? Such examples give you some insight into the nurturing and attentive environment you will find at Parkland. Caregivers and instructors are trained and state-certified in child CPR. Summer term instructors are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood. In addition, your child remains in a safe and secure environment throughout the day. The Parkland facility has a state-of-the-art security system and classroom monitoring during each instructional day.
To apply for the Parkland VPK Program, you need to complete a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Office of Early Learning. Parents considering Parkland can take a virtual tour or make an on-site visit to meet staff and instructors.
Parkland’s VPK program does not exceed 20 children per class and maintains a teacher to child ratio of 1:11. This creates a learning environment where quality instruction and attention are given to each child. School events are also designed to bring families, instructors, and support staff together to build the Parkland community. If you’re interested in learning more about Parkland’s VPK program, contact us directly to schedule a visit.