Florida’s early learning program is beneficial to children across the state, but understanding the ins and outs of pre-k education isn’t always easy. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know to enroll your child into an early learning program.
What Is The Florida Early Learning Program?
The Office of Early Learning aims to bring affordable and quality early learning education to children across the state of Florida. They provide support for children, parents, and child care providers to make sure that every child can have a successful start to their school journey.
The Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program is a free year-long 540-hour course run by accredited educators and high-quality education providers, a year that will prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond. Accommodating for children up to 5 years of age, the program sets benchmarks for children by focusing on the development of the following key critical skills.
- Physical Development: This area concerns both motor development and health and wellbeing. Coordination, balance, risk assessment, and hygiene routines develop as children get older and their brains start to mature.
- Approaches to Learning: This covers how children approach new situations, measuring their eagerness, persistence, inventiveness, and planning skills. School-aged children experience many new things on a daily basis, and the ability to adapt can help them greatly going forward.
- Social and Emotional Development: To be ready for kindergarten, children also need a level of social awareness. Through VPK programs, children learn to manage their emotions and make friends with their peers.
- Language and Literacy: Language and communication skills are vital for any growing child. While they won’t be reading or writing just yet, their vocabulary should be growing and they should show interest in reading and writing.
- Mathematical Thinking: Children learn mathematics from a young age before you even realize they’re learning. Through an early learning program, they’ll continue to explore basic number operations and spacial relations in the world around them.
- Scientific Inquiry: Learning about science teaches children valuable critical thinking skills, helping them make predictions and experiment with the environment. Children gain a better understanding of their senses and basic life science.
- Social Studies: As children interact with each other, they start to gain a sense of self and acknowledge group and cultural identities. Early learning programs teach children about the relationship between technology and society, as well as the effect time has on our lives.
- Creative Expression Through the Arts: Self-expression is vital for young children, and the arts are an excellent outlet for children to enjoy. Children participate in musical games and activities and begin to show their imagination through creative play and physical art.
Program Eligibility And Guidelines
There are a few necessary requirements in order to enroll your child in an early learning program. In order to attend an early learning program, children must be ordinarily resident in Florida. This condition can be proved by a recent utility bill, phone bill, or pay stub with the name and residential address of the parent or guardian.
Children must be 4 years old on or before September first in the year of the application in order to be eligible for a VPK program. Parents of children born between February second and September first of a given year may choose to apply for the following year when their child will be 5 if you would prefer to wait an extra year.
With a VPK program, you’re guaranteed quality. Class sizes stay small, with under 20 children in any given class, so that your child can receive the attention they need to develop throughout the year. Children with special needs can also benefit from the VPK Specialized Instructional Services Education Program, which offers extra support when the child is already in an individualized education plan at a local school.
Early Learning VPK Programs In Broward County
Visit us at Parkland Children’s Academy to see what a high-quality VPK program looks like. Our accredited educators have years of experience running pre-k courses that help give your child the extra step up they need for kindergarten.