Florida’s VPK Program to celebrate 10 years of success.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 6, 2016
CONTACT: Office of Early Learning
Communications Office 850-717-8604
Florida’s VPK Program to Celebrate 10 Years of Success
– Month of statewide events and activities recognizing early learning program’s 10-year mark will kick off in Tallahassee during Children’s Capitol for a Day –
Tallahassee, Fla. – In 2002, Florida voters became the first in the nation to initiate and approve a constitutional amendment to create a state-funded voluntary prekindergarten education program. Ten years after the first 4-year-olds began attending VPK in 2005, more than 1.7 million children have benefited from the successful program.
A month-long celebration of VPK’s birthday will kick off from the main stage Tuesday, Jan. 26, 12:30 p.m., at Children’s Capitol for a Day during 2016 Children’s Week. Some of those who helped start the program along with others who have contributed to the program over the years will be present along with students who were in the first VPK classes, elected officials, education leaders and early child education advocates. The celebration will continue through the month of February with activities and events across the state to draw attention to VPK. Local early learning coalitions, VPK providers, teachers, families and students will be participating.
- VPK is free for children who reside in Florida and will be 4 years old by Sept. 1 of the year they enroll.
- Results of kindergarten screening have consistently shown that children who complete VPK are more prepared for kindergarten than those who do not complete or do not attend VPK.
- Florida is a national leader in terms of access to free prekindergarten. About 75 percent of Florida’s 4-year-olds—more than 166,000 children—were enrolled in VPK in the 2014-2015 program year.
- Approximately 6,100 private child care centers, private, public and charter schools offer VPK.
- There are about 12,700 VPK teachers.
- There are school year and summer VPK programs as well as specialized instructional services for 4-year-olds with special needs.
More information about the history of VPK and activities and events that will be taking place during the month-long celebration is available on the website