The U.S Government’s voluntary prekindergarten program (VPK) aims to prepare young children for kindergarten and beyond. In the state of Florida, all eligible 4-year-olds can attend a VPK facility for free using a VPK voucher. VPK programs are designed to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based principles to promote early learning.
In 2018 nearly 75% of all 4-year-olds in Florida were attending a VPK program. While most parents understand the importance of early learning programs, there is still uncertainty about what exactly VPK schools are. Below we discuss what VPK school are and what your child will learn while they are enrolled at a VPK school.
What Is A VPK School?
A VPK school is not a place your child goes to the pass the time. Registered VPK providers undergo an extensive accreditation process to ensure that the program is educationally rewarding and fun for your child.
The VPK school must meet certain requirements before it is registered as a licensed VPK provided. The school’s facilities are assessed, qualifications of the teachers and staff are considered, and the school’s early learning curriculum is studied to ensure that it is of high quality.
Parents can choose to enroll their child in a full year, summer or specialized VPK program. The one year, full time program requires 540 instructional hours, while the summer VPK program has 300 instructional hours.
What Do Children Learn At VPK School?
At VPK school, children are taught valuable skills that are essential for their future learning development. STEM based VPK programs focus on developing your child’s cognitive, motor and social skills. The VPK curriculum will focus on:
1. Building Healthy Habits
At VPK your child will learn the importance of healthy living and how to perform everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth or washing their hands before they eat. The VPK program teaches children good habits which will stay with them well into adulthood.
2. Early Literacy Skills
Learning to read is an essential part of your child’s education. At VPK your child will learn early literacy skills through creative activities that help children identify words and recognise and write letters themselves. The VPK environment is rich in language and conversation, which allows children to improve their language and communication skills at a faster rate than if they were at home.
3. Mathematical & Scientific Thinking
Research has shown that early exposure to STEM based principles can increase critical thinking and lead to improved academic performance in senior phases of education. A VPK curriculum will make use of practical learning techniques, such as outdoor learning in nature, to introduce children to STEM principles.
4. Social Studies & Art
Before your child attends VPK they already demonstrate knowledge about social studies. Young children can identify different family members and can even distinguish between attributes of people they are familiar with. These skills are essential for social studies.
Through art children can express themselves creatively. Activities like crafting and dance provide children with an opportunity to share their ideas and feelings. Children will also learn to respect and appreciate the creative contributions made by their classmates.
5. Motor Development
Activities at VPK school focus on developing your child’s fine and gross motor skills. Children learn best through play and as they participate in group activities or learn crafting skills they are also developing important motor skills. Your four-year-old loves to move. At VPK they will be encouraged to do that in a structured way that can benefit their development.
Why Choose Parklands Children’s Academy VPK School?
Parklands Children’s Academy is a free VPK provider that is experienced in developing children’s pre-literacy, pre-mathematic and social skills. Our trained staff are experts in early learning and provide nurturing and insightful support that help children reach their individual developmental goals.
Contact Parkland Children’s Academy today to find out more about our facility or to enroll your child at our exceptional VPK school!