Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast


Voluntary Prekindergarten

Florida was one of the first states in the country to offer free prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds. Children must live in Florida and be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year to be eligible. If their fourth birthday falls Feb. 2 through Sept. 1 in a calendar year, families can postpone enrolling their child in VPK that year and wait until the following year when their child is 5.

Florida’s VPK program is designed to prepare children for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success.  The program helps to ensure that all children are intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially ready to enter school and ready to learn, fully recognizing the crucial role of parents as their child’s first teacher.

Family choice is a priority; therefore, both private and public providers may participate. VPK providers have flexibility in structuring the hours per day and days per week to meet the required instructional hours:

School Year Program

540 instructional hours: Class sizes will not exceed 11 students with 1 lead instructor and up to 20 students with a lead instructor and an assistant; instructors must have a minimum of a Florida Child Care Professional Credential for the school year program (in Florida, the Birth to Five Florida Child Care Professional Credential).

Summer Program

300 instructional hours: Class sizes not to exceed 12 students with 1 lead instructor; instructors must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.

Transferring VPK Programs

The state of Florida allows one transfer to a new VPK program in each VPK session. Students are eligible to transfer, if they have not completed 70% of the allotted VPK hours for their session. To request a re-enrollment, please log into your family portal account and select the “Request Reenrollment” button, to the far right, next to your current application status.