The School Readiness program provides child care assistance to qualified Orange County families financial assistance for child care through a variety of services. The program provides parents with access to high quality early care and education while they are working to become financially self-sufficient. Parents are provided with information on child development, as well as parental engagement opportunities that incorporate parents as their child’s first teacher. Childcare services include extended day, extended year, and school age care to support parents in becoming financially self-sufficient.
*Services vary based on individual need and range from extended day to extended year. School age care is provided in some instances.*
Children in the school readiness program are given the foundation for not only educational but for life-long success because they are taught the basics of self-care and self-management. The children, who are younger than kindergarten age, develop the social and emotional skills that enable them to take instruction, make friends, express thoughts, and cope with frustration.
Each school readiness program provides a developmental screening for children and referrals to specific health and educational specialists. These services work in cooperation with other programs for young children such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program.
All families that apply for the School Readiness program can receive information on choosing a child care provider and child care provider listings through Child Care Resource and Referral services (CCR&R)To learn about eligibility criteria for the School Readiness program and/or to access Child Care Resource and Referral services, please contact Community Coordinated Care for Children (4C) at 407-522-2252. Florida’s Office of Early Learning Child Care Resource Referral Network can also provide assistance and can be contacted at 1-866-357-3239 (TTY: 711)
Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)
The Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK) program prepares 4-year-olds for kindergarten. VPK provides the self-management and emergent literacy skills that are critical for a child’s academic success. VPK provides a quality early learning experience at participating private and faith-based child care centers, many public schools and Head Start sites, as well as licensed family child care homes. The program is free to all Florida residents regardless of income. Parents have the option of selecting from either a school year program with 540 instructional hours or a summer program that includes 300 instructional hours.
Children are taught emergent literacy skills, such as letter and sound recognition, which are critical for academic success. Each child has access to qualified instructors and age-appropriate curricula.
VPK is FREE for all 4-year-olds who reside in Florida. VPK programs feature:
- Qualified instructors
- Age-appropriate curricula and a strong emphasis on early literacy skills
- Manageable class sizes
VPK Program Options
Parental 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 not to exceed 20 students; instructors must have a minimum of a Child Development Associate for the school year program (now referred to as the Birth to Five Florida Child Care Professional Credential).
- Summer Program – 300 instructional hours. Class sizes not to exceed 12 students; instructors must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.
VPK Registration Flyer
Acceptable VPK Registration Documents
VPK Child Reenrollment Application
VPK Fact Sheet for Families (2015)
VPK Parent Handbook Short Form
VPK Parent Guide
VPK Specialized Instruction Services (SIS) Program Information
VPK SIS Program Fact Sheet (2015)
Kindergarten Child Readiness Screening Information