Early Childhood Programs and Kindergarten
Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)
Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) was implemented with the goal of providing all of Florida's four-year-olds with access to free, quality prekindergarten programs.
- All VPK instruction is standards-based and developmentally appropriate.
- School-year VPK provides 540 hours of instruction, 3 hours per day for 180 days.
- The Summer VPK program provides 300 hours of instruction, 10 hours per day for 30 days.
- All classrooms are taught by certified early childhood teachers.
- Summer VPK classrooms are staffed with 2 certified teachers for 24 students.
- School-year PEEPS/VPK classrooms are staffed with one certified teacher and two paraprofessionals (teacher assistants) for 8 PEEPS students and 9 VPK students.
The program has no income requirements or restrictions. The program is available to children who reside in Florida and will be eligible for kindergarten the following fall (5 on or before September 1).
The VPK program is offered through the public school system as well as through private providers throughout the state of Florida. Hillsborough County Public Schools provides the VPK program through several delivery models:
School-year program – Families may place their name on a "prioritized" waitlist starting on the first day of school for the following school year. Families will be awarded points as follows:
- 5 points will be awarded if the parent/guardian is a staff member at the VPK Site.
- 3 points will be awarded if the parent/guardian is an employee of Hillsborough County Public Schools.
- 1 point will be awarded for each criterion below:
- Child lives within the designated school attendance area.
- Parent or guardian is an active member of the military.
- Sibling is enrolled and attending the VPK site for which the student is applying. (A “sibling” is defined as a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, living in the same household.)
Summer – Registration opens in late March at each of the open Summer VPK sites. All eligible students are accepted.
Hours of Operation
Bell times may vary - Bell Schedule information
School-year PEEPS/VPK – VPK is first 3 hours of the day. Extended Learning Time completes the day until regular dismissal time. At sites with HOST (District-provided after school care), child care is only availble for children who are 5 years old or older.
- PreK/VPK - 7:40AM* - 5:45PM or 7:40AM* – 1:55PM
- Summer VPK – 7:30AM – 6:00PM during the summer (closed Fridays)
The are NO fees for the 3 hours of VPK, only for the wrap around time after VPK. The following fees apply for the extended day:
- PEEPS/VPK - $10 per week for children qualifying for free lunch, $25 per week for children qualifying for reduced lunch and $75 per week for children who do NOT qualify for free or reduced lunch (covers up to 1:55PM)
- PreK/VPK – No fees for children on free or reduced lunch, $75 per week for children who do NOT qualify for free or reduced lunch (covers up to 5:45PM)
- Summer - No fees
Each summer, our school district provides the VPK program at approximately 20 schools throughout the district. This program is offered from 7:30 AM to 6 PM (M-TH) and runs through the entire summer. The program provides a quality instructional program. Free breakfast and lunch are included at all sites. NOTE: The locations for the summer program will be available each March.
For more information, call the VPK Office at (813) 272-4840.
Head Start VPK- Extended Day classrooms
The Head Start program offered through Hillsborough County Public Schools has approximately 30 classrooms that provide extended days (until 4:30). Families that need this extended time will be able to take advantage of both Head Start and VPK funding through these blended programs. Students who participate in the blended Head Start/VPK programs must qualify for the Head Start program first. Children enrolled in a blended Head Start/VPK school year program will not be eligible for the summer VPK program.
For questions regarding the blended Head Start/VPK program, please contact the Head Start office at (813) 740-7870.
PEEPS/VPK Blended Classrooms
The district also provides VPK blended with our Primary Exceptional Education Preschool Services (PEEPS) in approximately 90 classrooms across the district. In these classrooms, 8 PEEPS students are blended with 9 VPK students. This model provides a regular school day program running from 7:40 AM until 1:55 PM throughout the school year. Bell times may vary at certain sites. Important note: The first 3 hours of the day are our VPK program hours (7:40 AM - 10:40 AM). The remainder of the day (10:40 AM – 1:55 PM) is our Extended Learning Time and a fee applies for these hours.
For questions about this program please contact the VPK office at (813) 272-4840.
Any age-eligible child may apply for this program. This is not blended with any other program. Children may leave after the 3 hours of VPK or may be picked up at the end of the regular school day.