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State announces first step towards 'flexible and innovative' VPK option

This week a webinar series will assist VPK providers in developing plan
Posted at 12:14 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 18:00:34-04

Families enrolled in the Florida’s Voluntary Pre-kindergarten program will soon have more flexible options for their 4-year-olds.

The Florida Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning have announced the availability of additional flexibility, through December 2020, for approved VPK providers for the 2020-21 School Year Program.

This is an added feature to in-person instruction, but not a replacement.

Starting Tuesday, the Office of Early Learning will host webinars to support private providers in the development and submission of their plan for the 2020/2021 school year program.

“If you are considering applying for the ability to offer a flexible, innovative VPK option, we strongly recommend that you attend one of the OEL hosted webinars to support private providers in the development and submission of your plan for the 2020/2021 school year program,” reads a statement from the Florida Office of Early Learning.

According to the Office of Early Learning, this flexibility will ensure that:

• VPK programs are open to enable learning to continue and allow parents able to rejoin the workforce.

• Choices for VPK parents that mirror those choices that K-12 parents now have via approved District Plans for Reopening.

• Structure safeguards that will encourage and shift families to in-person learning.

‘VPK Flex’ is there as a resource for families who think it's appropriate, but the best type of interaction for a 4-year-old is face to face,” said Tony Loupe, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County. “Fortunately the Office of Early Learning has put some stipulations in place. A virtual program cannot go past December 31.”

VPK Flexible School Year Options for VPK Private Providers Webinar