Polk County Public Schools’ preschool programs are designed to support all families as they take those important first steps in planning their child’s education. We offer multiple options tailored to your child’s needs.
Preschool will help your child to discover a love for learning and feel comfortable in a school environment. Your child will also learn to read for information and enjoyment, and solve math problems. In addition, preschool allows students to develop their listening and speaking skills, get along with others, and learn to make good choices.
What to Expect
Our preschool programs have low student-to-teacher ratios, and they are staffed by highly qualified instructors with appropriate degrees and state DOE/DCF certifications. Activities are directed by teachers, and consistent daily routines provide children with opportunities for exploration and learning. Our instructors use research-based techniques to support students’ socialization and language growth. We promote good health and safety habits with consistent supervision, and we maintain high program standards.
Florida First Start (Age 3 and younger)
The Florida First Start program is a home-school partnership designed to help prevent future failure in school. Parents receive support to become involved in their child’s education during the critical first three years of life, enhancing their child’s intellectual, physical, language, and social development.
Head Start (Ages 3-4)
Head Start is a federally funded program that promotes school readiness for children under the age of 5 from low-income families through education, health, social and other services. Income guidelines apply and a significant emphasis is placed on parental involvement. Head Start is currently offered at 25 sites and serves 942 students throughout Polk County.
Voluntary PreK (Age 4)
Voluntary Prekindergarten, or VPK, is a free statewide program for all 4-year- old children regardless of income. To be eligible, children must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year. Parents must submit the child’s VPK Certificate of Eligibility issued by the State of Florida with Polk County Schools’ PreK application. VPK is currently offered at 23 sites throughout Polk County and serves approximately 550 students.
Campus KidCare is a before/after school enrichment program offered through a partnership between Polk County Public Schools and local child care providers. The programs are housed at several elementary school sites and serve elementary-aged children.
Title I PK
Title 1 PK is a federally funded program for 4-year-old children residing in select Title 1 school zones. Parents must submit the child’s VPK Certificate of Eligibility issued by the State of Florida with Polk County Public Schools’ PK application. Title 1 PK is currently offered at 21 sites throughout Polk County and serves 388 students.
Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Prekindergarten services are provided to children from 3-5 years of age who meet the criteria for any of the following disabilities as defined by the Florida Department of Education and in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA): developmental delay, language impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, deaf or hard of hearing, dual-sensory impairment, intellectual disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, traumatic brain injury, speech impairment, visual impairment.