Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and Head Start Programs

  • Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and Head Start Programs

    Florida created the free Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program for all 4-year-olds, regardless of family income. VPK prepares early learners for success in kindergarten and beyond. The District offers both the school year (part day) and summer (full day) VPK programs in most, but not at all elementary schools. 

    Parents can choose to have their child attend one, but not both VPK programs. To participate, children must turn 4 years old by September 1 of the year before kindergarten entry, be residents of Palm Beach County, and have a VPK Certificate of Eligibility. However, the state allows parents with children who turn 4 between February 2 and September 1 to postpone enrollment until the following year. 

    The District’s VPK classroom teaching teams are composed of a certified teacher and a credentialed assistant teacher. Teaching teams implement a research-based curriculum aligned with the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards system. Our schools offer opportunities for children living within their boundary areas to attend VPK, where their siblings also attend elementary school. 

    Families whose children are enrolled in the District’s school year, part-day, VPK program may choose to have their children attend enrichment hours that extend the VPK program hours, creating a seamless six-hour day. Grants, contracts, and other funding sources pay for the enrichment hours in VPK programs located in Title I schools. 

    In Title I VPK programs, enrollment has certain requirements, such as living in the school’s boundary area. VPK programs offered in non-Title I schools offer enrichment hours through parent fees. Eligible parents may use School Readiness (subsidy) vouchers to pay parent fees. Some schools also offer VPK wraparound hours from 2 p.m. up to 6 p.m., on a parent-fee basis. Until all VPK seats are filled, schools will continue to enroll students.

    Follow these steps to enroll:

    Step 1: Obtain a VPK Certificate
    Obtain a VPK Certificate of Eligibility through Florida’s Early Learning Family Portal. For assistance, contact the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, call (561) 434-8720, or send an email beverly.sears@palmbeachschools.org. Para obtener ayuda en español, comunicase con Nelly Cruz al (561) 432-6347 o nelly.cruz@palmbeachschools.org.

    Step 2: Find Your School
    Visit Find My School to identify your home school.

    Step 3: Determine Options

    Visit our “School Sites with VPK Programs” page to determine if your home school offers VPK.  If your home school does not offer VPK, call (561) 434-8720 or send an email to Beverly Sears at Beverly.sears@palmbeachschools.org to learn about alternative options. 

    Step 4: Contact Your School

    Call your identified school to determine if your child qualifies for the VPK program offered at that school and if the school has open VPK seats.

    Step 5: Register for a Seat

    Register for a VPK seat by visiting the school. Bring your child’s VPK Certificate, birth certificate, two proofs of address, and current Health and Immunization forms. Complete a New/Returning Student Registration Form in your preferred language. For your convenience, you can register using any one of the following methods:

    • Complete the form online, print it, and bring it with you to school.
    • Print a blank copy of the form, complete it by hand, and bring it with you to school.
    • Go to school to obtain a form there, and then complete the form onsite.

    Head Start and Early Head Start
    The District also offers Head Start and Early Head Start programs in 10 elementary schools. The Head Start program serves low-income families on a year-round, 10-hours-per-day basis. To apply, complete an online Head Start Preliminary Application job. For assistance or information, call (561) 963-3835 or send an email to  stacy.scott@palmbeachschools.org.

    For Assistance
    Contact the District’s Department of Early Childhood Education for additional information by calling (561) 969-5884 or sending an email to  m.j.steele@palmbeachschools.org.

    Florida VPK loog

    Click here to apply for a Florida VPK Certificate

    For other helpful websites, click the links below: