As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want them to grow up happy, healthy, and well-educated.
One way many parents choose to give their children a head start in their education is by enrolling them in a Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten or VPK.
There are so many advantages of enrolling your child in a VPK program.
The History of Florida’s VPK Program
Florida introduced their Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program in 2005, which is a free, universal initiative for all children.
Eligible families had the option to enroll their 4-year-old children into either a 540-hour school year program or a 300-hour summer program- free of charge.
Since getting its start, the VPK program has grown to become the second-largest state-funded preschool program, with more than 75% of Florida’s 4-year-olds attending.
The Advantages of VPK
Many childhood experts agree that early childhood education provides numerous medium and long-term benefits to children enrolled in pre-k programs.
According to the National Education Association, children who participate in early childhood education programs are:
- Less likely to be held back a grade
- Less likely to be identified as having special needs
- Are more prepared academically for later grades
- Are more likely to graduate high school
- Are higher wage earners
Here are the benefits of a participating in a VPK program.
Encourages Brain Development
Science tells us that one of the most critical periods of brain development occurs between the ages of 2 and 7 because two-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults.
These connections in the brain are where learning occurs, so it’s crucial to your child’s long-term development that you give them the tools and experiences at a time when they can learn twice as fast.
Some people look at pre-k programs as precursors to “real” learning, but some research suggests that certain skills like learning second languages or becoming proficient in music are more difficult for children that don’t participate in early education activities.
Putting your child in a Florida VPK gives them the tools they need for their brains to grow along positive pathways, which sets them up for future success.
Social Skill Enhancement
Placing children in a structured educational environment at a young age helps them develop social skills by teaching them how to interact with others.
Children also learn the importance of socializing and abiding by rules by playing games, as well as good manners.
Structured education at early ages helps kids remain focused and attentive for longer periods, which better prepares them for the rigors of higher education.
Encourages a Love of Learning
Kids are naturally inquisitive, and their education begins at home as they learn games and creative ways to process information, which makes education fun for them.
Enrolling your child in a Florida VPK allows them to continue these creative learning methods, helping them to take that love of education with them throughout their lives.
Prepare Kids for Higher Education
Children who participate in high-quality early learning programs score higher in high-school readiness tests, develop better language skills, and experience fewer behavioral problems than children who don’t.
Kids that enroll in VPK and other pre-k programs are better prepared for kindergarten and generally have an easier time socializing, and have improved math and language skills.
Supports Physical Development
Structured play goes a long way to increase your child’s motor skills and coordination, contributing to positive health and fitness outcomes.
- Florida is one of the leading states in pre-kindergarten access.
- In the program year 2019-2020, 71% of 4-year-olds in the state attended a VPK program.
- In 2019-2020, almost 172,000 children were served by 6,501 private, public, and charter schools and private care facilities offering VPK.
- Eligible children must live in Florida and be 4-years old before September 1 of the current year.
We loved our experience with Kids ‘R’ Kids Avalon Park. They have a safe, state-of-the-art facility with dedicated, highly trained teachers and staff. The owners are very involved in the daily operation and have 3-+ years of childcare experience.