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July 18, 2018
The Importance of a quality VPK Program.
VPK is Florida’s free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Education Program (VPK) for all 4-year-olds. The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc. assists families with their VPK program enrollment. The program has two basic options for consideration: Your child can attend an early learning program for half days through the school year, or do longer days during the summer.
The first five years of your child’s life is a time of rapid development. More than 90 percent of the brain develops by the age of 5. Bill Gates once said, “The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.”
The VPK experience sets the stage for your child’s education. Typically, children that have these valuable educational experiences and opportunities are more inclined to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’ report, “Early Warning: A Research Update on Third Grade Reading,” one of the main factors that contribute to third grade reading proficiency is school readiness-preschool attendance. It’s during VPK when children start understanding the basics of literacy. The report states that students not reading on grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out before high school graduation.
Early childhood educators incorporate play into their lesson plans to make them developmentally appropriate, fun and interactive for children. According to the 2017 Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards, kids ages 4 through kindergarten should develop in the following eight domains during the VPK program: physical development, various learning approaches, social and emotional development, Language and Literacy, Mathematical Thinking, Scientific Inquiry, Social Studies, and Creative Expression through the Arts. When children complete the VPK program it becomes an educational milestone that sets the stage for them to experience more success during the rest of their educational journey.