Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK)
Apply online today using your computer, tablet or smart phone, by clicking the GOLD Family Portal button on the home page, or the side panel of this website. Or visit our offices at 5000 Dunn Road (at Midway Road and Dunn) or call 772-595-6363 and our team can help guide you through the process.
Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) is a free program designed to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. VPK is available to all four-year-old children born on or before September 1st that reside in Florida, regardless of family income. Parents can choose from private child care centers or public schools and school-year or summer programs.
Our VPK program gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate curriculum, substantial instruction periods, manageable class sizes and qualified instructors.
The Office of Early Learning oversees the program at the state level and our Coalition implements the program in St. Lucie County by contracting with eligible public and private child care providers through an application process. The 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 18 students with a teacher and an assistant. 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 with one teacher. Instructors must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.
What is the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program?
Children who were four on or before September 1, 2019, are entitled to participate in one of the VPK program options. Since VPK providers have flexibility in structuring the hours per day and days per week to meet the required instructional hours, program hours may vary. For example, if a program is 180 days (similar to a school-year calendar), it would offer 3 hours of instruction each day to meet the 540-hour requirement. Contact the provider for information on their structure.
To help answer your questions or concerns at Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) team members are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM by calling 772-595-6363.
Planning ahead? Registration for the 2020/2021 year will begin January 1, 2020, for children who will be four on or before September 1, 2020.
You can easily apply online today for this year’s program using your computer, tablet or smart phone, by clicking the GOLD Family Portal button on the right hand side of this website. If you need help attaching documents, you are welcome to visit the Early Learning Coalition’s offices at 5000 Dunn Road (at Midway Road and Dunn) and our team will be happy to walk you through the process or call 772-595-6363!
The VPK application process is entirely online and easy to complete. We also have computers and scanners available for families to use, Monday through Friday from 8-5, if you don’t have access to the Internet. You will need:
One proof of residency: driver’s license, utility bill, or paystub.
One proof of your child’s age: birth certificate, passport, shot records, or military ID.
Families will need to separately scan and submit supporting age and residency documents in PDF format.
Follow these steps to apply for VPK:
Step 1 Click the following link to navigate to the Family Portal: https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/Login
Step 2. If you are a new user, register for an account with a reliable email address and memorable password.
Step 3. Log into the Family Portal using your email as the user name and enter your password.
Step 4. Click the green button that says, “Apply for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten.”
Step 5. Complete the basic information and upload the required documents as specified on the Family Portal.
Step 6. Certify the application by typing your first and last name as an electronic signature.
If you experience any technological difficulties during the application process, please contact the Early Learning Coalition Family Services at 772-595-6363.
Once the application is submitted, it can take up to 5 days for ELC of St. Lucie County to process it. You will receive a notification via email that updates you on the status of your child’s VPK application.
When the VPK application is approved, log into the Family Portal to print the Certificate of Eligibility and deliver it to the VPK provider of your choice. If the application is rejected, log into the Family Portal to edit the application and make the recommended changes.
Please download and print the Certificate of Eligibility within a week of being approved. If you cannot print the certificate after being approved, please contact our Family Services Department at 772-595-6363 for assistance.
VPK Parent Handbook (PDF)