Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Requirements

 

Director Credential

Consistent with the requirements of section 1002.55(3)(f), F.S., a private prekindergarten program delivering the VPK program must have a director who has a VPK Director Endorsement, issued by DCF, that meets the requirements of Rule 6A.6.040(2), FAC. For more information on Director Credentials, please visit the DCF website here and please see the link here for the Director Credential Application (and Renewal).

Exempt: Successful completion of the Director Credential prior to December 31, 2006, satisfies this requirement, although individuals are strongly encouraged to acquire the VPK Endorsement.

Endorsement: Effective January 1, 2007, to receive a VPK Director Endorsement Credential, applicants must complete the following:

  • The Florida Director Credential Certificate program.
  • The DOE-approved training on the Florida Standards for Four Year Olds adopted by the State Board of Education.
  • The five hour online DOE-approved course Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors.
  • The five hour online DOE-approved course VPK Director Credential.

 

Credential Renewal

Individuals with a National CDA (NECC) or Birth through Five credential (FCCPC) must complete the renewal process at least every five (5) years to maintain an active credential. For more information, please see the following information from the Department of Children and Families. You may also see the following link for information regarding staff credentials.

 

Staff Qualifications

Please see the following link from the Office of Early Learning website for more information on VPK staff qualifications.

  • School Year Program:
    Each VPK classroom must have at least one instructor (lead teacher) who holds at a minimum:
    • Child Development Associate (CDA) or Florida Child Care Professional Certificate (FCCPC) earned within the last five (5) years; or
    • An Associate’s Degree or higher in Child Development; or
    • An Associate’s Degree or higher in an unrelated field, with at least 6 credit hours in early childhood education or child development, and at least 480 hours of experience in teaching or providing childcare services for children any age from birth to 8 years of age; or
    • A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in early childhood education, prekindergarten or primary education, preschool education, or family and consumer science; or
    • A Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education, if the pre-k instructor has been certified to teach children any age from birth through 6th grade, with a Florida Educator’s Certificate, regardless whether the certificate is current or not, and has not had this educator certificate suspended or revoked. 
      (Please note that a teaching degree from another country must be evaluated and translated by an accredited organization and submitted to DCF for approval.)
    • Copy of the Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors course.
    • Copy of a student performance standards training course (Standards for Four Year Olds).
    • Copy of Level 2 Background screening completed in the past 5 years.
    • Copy of notarized Affidavit of Good Moral Character.

 

  • Summer Program:
    Each VPK classroom must have an instructor who holds:
    • A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in early childhood education, prekindergarten or primary education, preschool education, or family and consumer science; or 
    • A Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education, if the pre-k instructor has been certified to teach children any age from birth through 6th grade, with a Florida Educator’s Certificate, regardless whether the certificate is current or not, and has not had this educator certificate suspended or revoked. 
    • A valid (current) Florida Educator Certificate 
      (Please note that a teaching degree from another country must be evaluated and translated by an accredited organization and submitted to DCF for approval.)

 

Background Screening

A Level 2 background screening, as well as a signed and dated Affidavit of Good Moral Character, must be completed by each staff member before employment. In addition, he/she must be re-fingerprinted at least once every five (5) years. Please see the following letter from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for more information on this process.

 

Non-Instructional Days

Non-instructional days during your VPK year are days you do not offer VPK instruction (holidays, teacher planning days, etc). You do not receive VPK funding for non-instructional days, even though your center may remain open. For example, a private child care program could decide to follow the Public School schedule and thus their VPK program takes a Spring Break but the center itself is not closed that week. In this case, providers may charge parents the cost for that care, but they must inform parents ahead of time what the VPK schedule will be so parents can make alternate arrangements for non-instructional days if they choose not to attend on those days. If a provider serves children who receive a child care subsidy, they will be paid the full day regular rate for children on non-instructional days.

 

Instructional Hours

To count as instructional hours, mealtime and outdoor play time must provide activities that nurture and enhance children’s development. Children can attend chapel during VPK hours. Nap time CANNOT be counted as instructional time. Providers have flexibility in how they structure their instructional hours as long as they meet the required number of instructional hours during their calendar year. This schedule should not change except under extreme circumstances and prior approval from the Coalition.

  • School Year Program
    • Providers must offer 540 instructional hours for the School Year VPK program. School-year programs cannot begin before the school district’s first day and must end by June 30.
  • Summer Program
    • Providers must offer 300 instructional hours for the Summer VPK program. Summer programs cannot begin before May 1 and must end before the start of the school district’s first day of school for the new year.

 

Teacher-Child Ratios

Each VPK class must have in attendance at least four (4) children with eligible VPK certificates in order to begin instruction for funding. Providers may organize their VPK classes to combine VPK and non-VPK children as a blended class, but cannot exceed the maximum class size, the teacher to child ratio, or the licensed room capacity.

  • School Year Program
    • 4 - 11 children requires 1 credentialed instructor
    • 12-20 children requires 1 credentialed instructor plus an assistant
  • Summer Program
    • 4 - 12 children requires 1 credentialed instructor

 

Florida Standards for Four Year Olds and Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors

The Florida Standards for Four Year Olds describe age-appropriate understandings related to the ways four-year-olds think, recreate, reason, and create as they engage in the learning process. Training has been developed to ensure all VPK teachers effectively design and implement suitable early learning environments. The participants will be introduced to the Standards for Four Year Olds, which are guidelines that describe what children should know and be able to do at the end of their VPK experience.

VPK lead instructors with either a National CDA (NECC) or Florida Child Care Professional Certificate (FCCPC) are required to complete the five hour online DOE-approved course Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors.

To register for the Florida Standards for Four Year Olds or Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors, log on to the DCF Website: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/childcare/training.shtml, click on ‘Training & Registry Login’ on the left hand side.

 

Curriculum Requirements

Curriculum must be developmentally appropriate, designed to prepare a student for early literacy, enhance the age-appropriate progress of students in attaining the state adopted performance standards, and prepare students to be ready for kindergarten based on the statewide kindergarten screening.

For VPK Providers, you can easily implement your choice of curriculum as long as you are not a Provider on Probation (POP) who selected "curriculum" in your Improvement Plan. If you are a POP who selected "curriculum" in your Improvement Plan, you will have to select and purchase an approved VPK curriculum available on the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) curriculum page here.

 

VPK Assessments - Click Here for More Information!

 

Maintenance of Records

VPK child records are confidential and must be kept by the provider for at least five (5) years after the child’s last day of attendance. Records include Certificate of Eligibility, Parent Attendance Verification Forms (Attachments 14 & 15), and signed VPK Attendance Policy (sample-Attachment 4). The parent of a VPK child has the right to inspect and review the individual records of his or her child and to obtain copies of the records; original documents must remain in the child’s file. Records of the VPK director and instructors must be kept for at least five (5) years after the employee’s last day of employment.

 

Monitoring of VPK Program/Compliance Verification

The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County (ELCPBC) has an ongoing duty to verify a VPK provider’s compliance with Florida Statutes, state policies, and ELC procedures. Provider must agree to allow the Coalition’s monitors to visit their VPK programs during VPK hours. Provider must also agree to allow the Coalition’s monitors to review their attendance, lesson plans, and observe their classrooms. The provider’s non-compliance with any terms of the VPK Provider Agreement may result in the Coalition withholding funds and/or the termination of the VPK contract. The provider must submit for approval a corrective action plan before returning to the VPK program. The Coalition will notify the provider in writing of any contract/financial penalties. Please visit our Quality Supports & Monitoring page for the requested documents for monitoring list, tip sheet, copies of the School Readiness (SR) and VPK Monitoring tools, as well as Post Audit Attendance Monitoring (PAAM) information.

 

"Unusual Incident" Reporting

Per Paragraph 70 of the School Readiness agreement/contract, Paragraph 65 of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) agreement/contract, and Paragraph 67 of the Children's Services Council (CSC) Scholarship agreement/contract, providers must "report unusual incidents to the Coalition by no later than the close of business on the next business day of the unusual incident and to submit a written report to the Coalition within three (3) business days from the date of the incident. For licensed providers, sending a copy of the incident report submitted for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the Coalition shall constitute compliance with this [requirement]."

According to the above mentioned agreements/contracts, an "unusual incident" is described as an event involving the health and safety of a child while in the provider's care and/or any incident that may cause a disruption in the provider's operation. Specific examples include "accusations of abuse or neglect against the provider or provider's staff; the injury of a child which requires professional medical attention at the provider's site or written notification from the child's parent that the child received professional medical attention; and when a provider receives notice of litigation where the provider is named party or defendant and which relates to the provider's operation at any location at which [School Readiness, VPK, and/or CSC Scholarship] services are being provided."

 

Annual Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Update

Please complete the annual CCR&R update on the Provider Portal by May 31 of each year. According to Florida Statute Rule 6M-9.3000, Providers must provide an annual CCR&R update to maintain compliance with the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK), School Readiness, and Children's Services Council (CSC) Scholarship agreements/contracts. Parents will then be able to know what their options are within the county. This is also a great way to advertise your facility and its programs.

 

Provider Attendance Policy

VPK Providers must provide parents/legal guardians with a copy of their written attendance policy upon enrollment of each child into the VPK program. Parents must sign signifying they agree to the provider’s attendance policy. Signed documentation must be kept in the child’s file for monitoring purposes.

In cases where a provider transports children to/from their facility and parents are unable to sign-in/sign-out their child(ren) on a daily basis, please use the following forms as required by the Office of Early Learning to acquire parental certification of attendance:

Please note that a provider’s attendance policy is not the same as the State’s VPK Funding Policy. Providers have the right to determine how many absences/tardies are allowable. Children who complete 70% (including paid absences) of a VPK program will be included in that program’s readiness rate.

 

Enrollment Procedures

  • Parent must submit the Certificate of Eligibility to provider to ensure funding.
  • Provider enters the child information to Roster on the portal.

 

Delayed Enrollment

A provider may enroll a child in a VPK classroom after the class has begun, if at least 10% of the instructional hours remain (54 hours for a school year program or 30 hours for a summer program). The parent/guardian must complete and sign the “Informed Parent Consent” form.

 

Transfer Procedure

A child may transfer only ONE TIME -if they have completed less than 70% of the VPK program hours- regardless of circumstances. Providers may accept children with approved transfers; however, the parent must submit the new Certificate of Eligibility prior to enrollment. Providers will not receive payment without a newly issued certificate. As a reminder, a provider should not return the Certificate of Eligibility to a parent if their child disenrolls. The provider is required to maintain the certificate in the child’s file for five years. Please see the following link for guidance and information regarding VPK re-enrollment, as well as an application for re-enrollment.

 

Program Fees

VPK provider may not require a parent/legal guardian to pay fees or charges for any part of the VPK program, including, but not limited to registration fees. However, a provider may request that a parent voluntarily purchase or bring in personal items such as: instructional materials or supplies, lunch, snacks, or hygiene products (e.g. tissues, soap).

 

Late Fees

A provider must notify the parent/legal guardian in writing of scheduled pick-up periods for the VPK program and the fees or charges for late pick up. This notification must be reviewed and signed by the parent/guardian. If a parent fails to pick up his/her child from the VPK program by the designated time, the provider may require payment of late pick-up charge.

Contact Us

 

 

Parents: (561) 514-3300

Providers/Administrative: (561) 214-8000
Send us an email

Special Notice: If you require Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to participate in any ELCPBC event or activity, please notify Christie Young, Single Point of Contact, by phone at 561-214-7424 or by email at christie.young@elcpalmbeach.org within at least seven (7) days of the event.  Accommodations will be provided at no extra charge.