What is VPK?
VPK stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. If you live in Florida, and your child will turn 4 by Sept. 1, your child is eligible to participate in Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program. Enrollment is limited at Polk County Public Schools sites throughout the county.
Benefits of the VPK program:
- The most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of 5. The structured learning provided in VPK fosters children’s ability to be attentive and to follow directions, skills that will be needed for later success in school and life.
- VPK prepares children to be ready for school. Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs develop better language skills, score higher on school-readiness tests, and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. They are also better prepared for kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills.
- VPK promotes a love of learning in children.
How to Enroll in a Public School VPK Program
Step 1: Obtain your VPK Certificate of Eligibility
Step 2: Choose the program type and location
VPK AM or PM (three hours per day): Depending on parental requests for VPK services, most schools will provide three hours of VPK in the morning and afternoon. Parental preference of service time will be considered, but not guaranteed. School locations are listed on the last page of the VPK application.
VPK full school day (fee for extended day): Depending upon parental requests for VPK services, some schools will provide a full school day of service for a fee of $12 per day for 180 days. The payment agreement is $216 per month for 10 months – prorated for days of service. To reserve your child’s full-day space, the first payment is required prior to acceptance into the program.
Title 1 PK Grant (full school day):
Polk County Public Schools has been granted a unique opportunity for 21 specific schools. The location of these schools are listed on the last page of the VPK application. The VPK-eligible child living within the specific school zone can attend the program for the full school day at no cost to the parent.
Not sure of your specific school zone? Verify your school zone with Zone Finder: https://polkschoolsfl.com/zonefinder/
Step 3: Complete and submit the application
VPK Certificates of Eligibility issued by the Polk Early Learning Coalition cannot be taken to public school offices for enrollment purposes. The application cover page lists documents you will need to submit with the application. Proof of address was mistakenly left off the list. Please note that proof of address will be requested with the other documents. Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program, a particular school or session.
Applications and documentation must be submitted to:
Polk County Schools Woodlake Center – Preschool Programs
3425 New Jersey Road
Lakeland, FL 33803
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Step 4: If your child is selected for enrollment ...
You will receive a Polk County Schools Preschool Programs acceptance letter by mail or email. The letter of acceptance will provide you with the name of school, time of service and information on how to enroll your child at the school.