Keyword for this page: VPK

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What is VPK?

VPK stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. If you live in Florida, and your child turns 4 four years of age by September 1, your child is eligible to participate in Florida's FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program. Enrollment is limited at Public Schools across Polk County.

Benefits of early education and the VPK program

  • The most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of five.
  • The early years are the learning years. A child’s ability to be attentive and to follow directions emerges in the early years. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and in life.
  • Pre-K prepares children to be ready for school. Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. They are also better prepared for Kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills.
  • Pre-K promotes a love of learning in children. Pre-K enhances what a child learns at home and instills a love of life-long learning.

Four Easy Steps to Apply for a Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Certificate

Click here to download PDF version of the directions.

  1. Complete the VPK Child Application.
  2. Attach a copy of proof of the child's age.
    • Acceptable documents include: birth certificate, passport, valid military dependent ID card, record signed by physician, INS Certificate of Arrival in US.
  3. Attach a copy of proof of Florida residency. Proof must match the name and physical address on your VPK application.
    • Acceptable documents include, but are not limited to: Driver's License, utility bill, bank statement, insurance policy, pay stubs, valid Florida or govt. documents. A post office box address is not sufficient proof.
  4. Take completed application and attachments to an Early Learning Coalition site.
    • See the website at for times, dates and designated locations.
    • Parents will be issued an Eligibility Certificate after the application has been approved.

Download the Voluntary PreK Application (English)

Download the Voluntary PreK Application (Spanish)


"Summer" Voluntary PreK Application (English and Spanish)


To enroll a child into a Public School VPK program

  1. Contact Preschool Programs (863-648-3047) to see if space is available at the school of your choice.
  2. Bring the VPK certificate (issued by the Early Learning Coalition to Preschool Programs Woodlake Office to schedule your child into a specific school space if it is available.
  3. Special note:
    • Certificates should not be taken to school offices for enrollment purposes
    • The enrollment process is completed on a first come - first serve basis


In addition to all PreK School Readiness and Head Start locations AM/PM VPK services will be provided at:

  • Dr. N. E. Roberts Elementary
  • Highland Grove Elementary
  • Scott Lake Elementary
  • Valleyview Elementary
  • Laurel Elementary


Sandi Opalinski, Senior Coordinator VPK


Polk County Schools Woodlake Center - Preschool Programs

3425 New Jersey Road

Lakeland, Florida 33803

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 8:00 - 4:30 pm