Kindergarten can be a big adjustment for a young student, but there are federally funded programs to help prepare your little one for their first day, even school year. Voluntary Pre-kindergarten programs are designed to kick start a lifetime of learning.
Enrollment for Bay District Schools' 18 school sites and other programs throughout Bay County is well underway for the Fall. There's still room for your child to sign up.
Bay District Schools Board Member Ginger Littleton says VPK is a way to give your four or five year old a leg up before Kindergarten. It's a free and voluntary program. Parents can enroll their child at any program with an open spot.
"I would encourage parents to look for those programs that are actually demonstrably successful," said Littleton.
The Florida Department of Education provides a tool for interested parents, the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate. It uses a test to determine how well a program prepares a student for kindergarten. Those results are posted online, where parents can search for their ideal program. The search tool lists each program location and percentage rate.
"If you find a VPK program where 100 percent of the students are scoring in the acceptable range, that's probably a program you want to explore. If only a third of those students are scoring acceptably, you may want to take a look at some other options," said Littleton.
Children must be four years old on or before September first to be accepted to a program.