600 8th Avenue West, Suite 100
Palmetto, FL 34221
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MON - THU
7:00am - 6:00pm
by appointment only
Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)
Parents may enroll their child in one of the following program options:
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)
- Typical class begins in late August for 3-4 hours per weekday
- 300 instructional hours
- Class sizes not to exceed 12 students
- Instructors must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree
- Typical class begins the following June for 6-7 hours per weekday
The school year VPK program begins each year in August and consists of 540 instructional hours. The summer VPK program starts in June and consists of 300 instructional hours. Children who participate in the summer VPK program must be eligible for kindergarten the school year immediately following.
VPK programs may be administered by public, private, and faith-based providers who meet the State eligibility requirements. VPK providers determine their own program hours and days in order to meet the 540 or 300 hour requirement. For example, if a program is 180 days, it would offer 3 hours of instruction each day to meet the 540-hour requirement. A provider could also choose to offer a 6 hour-per-day program for 90 days. Check with your VPK provider of choice to determine which program best suits your child’s needs.
Providers are not permitted to charge a registration fee or require parents to agree to any additional services. State law does not, however, prohibit a provider from charging registration fees for programs or care that are not part of the VPK program hours. In many cases, children can remain at the VPK site all day but parents are responsible for paying for the hours outside of the VPK program. Transportation is not covered for VPK.
TO REGISTER FOR VPK IN MANATEE COUNTY:
The parent or guardian with whom the child lives must REGISTER ONLINE in order to receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The parent or guardian may obtain the Certificate of Eligibility at any time between this date and the start of the VPK program, there is no urgency unless a VPK provider is unable to reserve a place for a child. If a parent or guardian is choosing a school-based VPK provider (as opposed to a private or faith-based VPK provider), the COE cannot be submitted to the Manatee County School Board until they open their enrollment period.
The following documents are required to prove a child's age and residency:
1. Proof of Child's Age: (One of the following)
- An original or certified copy of the child’s birth record filed according to law with the appropriate public officer.
- An original or certified copy of the child’s baptism certificate or other religious record of the child’s birth, with an affidavit that the child’s parent swore to or affirmed stating that the certificate is true and correct.
- An insurance policy on the child’s life that has been in force for at least two years.
- A passport or certificate of the child’s arrival in the United States.
- An immunization record a public health officer or licensed practicing physician signed.
- Florida SHOTS documentation.
- A valid military dependent identification card.
- If a child’s parent is unable to submit any of the supporting documentation listed above, the coalition shall document the child’s age based on an affidavit the child’s parent swears to or affirms. A certificate of age that a public health officer or licensed practicing physician signed that states that the physician has examined the child and believes that the age shown in the affidavit is true and correct must accompany the affidavit.
3. Proof of Residence: (One of the following preferred)
PO BOXES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE
- Utility bill (electric, gas, water), cable, or home phone bill.Pay stub.
- Residential rental agreement or receipt from rental payment.
- Government-issued document (e.g., Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card, property tax assessment showing a homestead exemption).
- Military order showing that the child’s parent is a service member in the United States Armed Forces and is assigned to duty in Florida while the child attends the VPK Program (e.g., permanent change of station).
- If none of the supporting documents listed above are available, a coalition may accept an affidavit the child’s parent swore to or affirmed with a letter from a landlord or property owner that confirms that the child resides at the address shown on the affidavit.
- If none of the supporting documents listed above are available for a homeless child as s. 1003.01, F.S., defines, a coalition shall verify residency based on other supporting documents showing that the child is homeless and resides in Florida (e.g., letter from a homeless shelter or affidavit the child’s parent swears to or affirms).
Selecting a VPK Provider
Parents or guardians of eligible children will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Early Learning Coalition to take to the VPK provider of their choice. Once a provider has been selected and the child becomes enrolled in a specific VPK class, the provider uses the certificate to confirm registration back to the Early Learning Coalition. To see a list of certified VPK providers in your area, please use our VPK Facility Locator tool.
There are restrictions on changing providers once you begin a program. If you wish to change VPK providers, please contact the Early Learning Coalition for information on this process.
Click here to register online.