The Importance of VPK

Many children celebrated their first day of school on August 19. My four-year-old son celebrated his first day of Voluntary Prekindergarten, known as VPK. During his first week of VPK, he was assigned homework, too. 

As a parent, we all want to ensure that our children are receiving the best education.

It's a proven fact that early education is important from birth to age three. Learn more information from the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.'s inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. The VPK program is designed to prepare four-year-old children with foundations for their educational success in the future. It's important to note that the VPK program is provided at no cost to parents as well, thanks to a constitutional amendment that was passed in 2002.

The VPK program offers three different schedules that are 540 instructional hours or a summer schedule that's 300 instructional hours. 

The Department of Education allows VPK providers to develop their own curriculum according to state performance standards to prepare students for kindergarten. Children enrolled in the VPK program take a pre-assessment and post-assessment to determine their readiness rate. The VPK Assessment measures Print Knowledge, Phonological Awareness, Mathematics and Oral Language/Vocabulary. To find out the kindergarten readiness rates at each elementary school in Duval County, visit School Facts Jax.

As a parent, we all want the best childcare center and teachers for our children, because high-quality early childhood education is vital to ensuring students are ready for kindergarten. The Early Learning Coalition of Duval provides parents with resourceful information about quality childcare and VPK providers.  Parents are able to search for providers and school services, curriculum, instructor credentials, readiness rate and instructor to student ratio.

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Ale'ta Turner