If you have a toddler or a young child, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of options you have when it comes to daycare, preschool, pre-kindergarten, voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK), and more. Then, depending on the age of your child, you have to decide when to send your child to preschool and decide between a preschool or VPK program.

At Kidstown Learning Center, we offer both a preschool program and our part- and full-time VPK programs. We know that the distinction between those options can be confusing. So to help you make an informed decision for your child, we’re here to talk about the difference between preschool and VPK programs and how those two different programs help your child develop and prepare for kindergarten and elementary school. 

Kidstown Learning Center in Lake Worth provides a wide range of classes for children, ranging from infant and toddler daycare to preschool, VPK, and before and after school care. If you would like to tour our facilities or learn more about our preschool programs, don’t hesitate to contact the Kidstown Learning team today!

Preschool Programs

You’re probably more familiar with preschool programs than with a VPK program. Preschool is great for children aged two to four — and through a preschool program, your child will get the chance to learn through play. This learning can happen with activities like: 

  • Storytime
  • Singing songs
  • Playing independently or with other children
  • Outside playtime
  • Daily circle time 
  • Hands-on learning activities 
  • Introductions to letter, numbers, and shapes through different puzzle and games
  • Conducting simple experiments

Through playful learning experiences, children can start to gain their sense of self, interact with their peers, learn how to compromise and solve problems, and build their overall confidence. In the end, preschool programs provide a great opportunity for children to develop their motor skills, social skills, and vocabulary. 

Voluntary Preschool Programs

The voluntary pre-kindergarten educational program (VPK) is different from a standard preschool program. While preschool programs are optional — and often paid for by the parents — VPK is a free program provided by the state that is for children aged four to five who reside in Florida. This gives all children an opportunity to attend a pre-kindergarten program. 

Since a VPK program is offered by the state, VPK is focused on preparing children for kindergarten. This means that your children will be exposed to a structured environment with a pre-established curriculum that can help: 

  • Introduce your child to sitting for long periods of time
  • Teach your child how to follow direction and listen to a teacher
  • Improve social skills as your child works together with their peers
  • Prepare your child to attend kindergarten 

As the VPK program explains, “Voluntary Prekindergarten or VPK gives children a jump start by preparing them for school and enhancing their pre-reading, pre-math, language and social skills…VPK classrooms offer high-quality programs that include high literacy standards, developmentally appropriate curricula, manageable class sizes, and qualified teachers.”

In Florida, parents can choose between a summer or school year VPK program. These VPK programs also have established hour requirements (540 hours during the school year program and 300 hours during the summer programs) to meet Florida regulations. Again, this puts all children who attend a VPK program on an even playing field with exposure to the same curricula. 

VPK Programs at Kidstown Learning

At Kidstown learning, we are proud to offer a free part-time VPK program. We also offer a full-time VPK if you want to give your child a more in-depth pre-kindergarten experience. Both our part- and full-time program follow the VPK requirements set by the Florida Department of Education Standards.  

In addition, we’ve carefully developed our program to help your child meet certain developmental milestones. We give out two assessments during the year so we can evaluate areas where your child might need additional support or development opportunities. 

If you’re interested in either of our VPK programs, make sure you take a look at our VPK classes page for more information. 

Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten Today

Now that you better understand the difference between a VPK and preschool program, make sure you get your child enrolled in a program today — spots fill up quickly! 

At Kidstown Learning Center in Lake Worth, you can choose between our part- and full-time VPK program. If you still have questions about our programs, need to get your child enrolled, or want to tour our classroom first, contact our team today!

There are many additional benefits of choosing a part- or full-time VPK program for your child. Make sure you read through our previous blog posts to learn more: