Research has shown that by the time a child reaches kindergarten, 90% of their brain has been developed. The Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program is designed to take advantage of this key developmental phase by preparing four-year-old’s for kindergarten and future academic success. The program was first implemented by the U.S. Government in 2005. By the end of 2017, nearly 80% of eligible South Floridian children were enrolled in a VPK program.
Children do not attend VPK programs to pass the time. The programs are designed to give young children a head-start by incorporating early literacy and mathematic principles in a format that young children find engaging. Below we discuss the benefits of Florida VPK and how you can enroll your child.
What Are The Benefits Of Florida VPK?
Children who attend VPK programs can develop more than their cognitive skills. The program allows children to develop essential personal and interpersonal skills through play. These include:
On the first day of daycare or preschool, children can feel overwhelmed. The sudden change in routine and separation from a primary caregiver can be difficult for young children to understand. Experienced teachers at a registered VPK facility can guide children through the anxieties they feel, and provide the necessary support for them to overcome those feelings.
Gaining independence will make the first day of preschool drop-off easier, and can help your child succeed in the classroom too.
As they grow older, your child will be expected to study and work independently. Independence is an important skill for children to learn, as it can improve their confidence, teamwork abilities, and learning capabilities.
The independence encouraged by Florida VPK programs can benefit children as they learn new skills that will stay with them well into adulthood.
At a registered VPK facility, children learn skills that help them to interact with their peers appropriately. By playing games, they learn leadership skills and how to communicate with their peers.
Through structured socialization, your child can learn how to express themselves, negotiate roles during play, and respect their peers’ boundaries (i.e., not hugging a child who does not want to be hugged).
Social, emotional, and cognitive skills contribute to a successful schooling experience. A child’s readiness for grade school learning is greatly influenced by their social-emotional and cognitive skills. VPK provides an environment that fosters social interactions, self-control, and improved attention skills.
Fine Motor Skills
Gross motor skills allow your child to successfully perform everyday tasks, like getting up in the morning or going downstairs for a meal. Fine motor skills are the abilities that allow your child to open doors, wash their hands, or brush their teeth.
At VPK, children spend time learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities indoors and outdoors. The STEM based curriculum is designed to develop fine motor skills that can also contribute to a child’s ability to explore, learn, and express themselves creatively.
How To Enroll Your Child In A Florida VPK Program
Florida VPK programs are flexible. Parents can enroll eligible children in school-year VPK programs or summer ones. The school-year program requires that your child receive 540 hours of instruction, while the summer programs require 300 instructional hours.
Only registered children can be enrolled in a VPK program. Children who turn four years old by September 1st in their first year in the program are eligible for a VPK voucher. In the state of Florida, all four- and five-year-old’s can attend VPK for free.
To get a voucher, parents must register with the Early Learning Coalition. Once the registration has been successfully completed, a Certificate of Eligibility will be issued to parents. After receiving the certificate, your child can be enrolled at a registered VPK provider.
VPK Program At Parkland Children’s Academy
Parkland Children’s Academy is a registered VPK provider that prioritizes your child’s developmental goals. We offer a fun and educational school-year program and a summer camp program. Contact us today at (954) 688-5877 if you have any questions about your child’s early education journey.