The Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County
Overview of VPK
The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program (VPK) is a free educational program that prepares children for kindergarten. Children must be 4 years of age and be Florida residents to participate. Children may participate in either a school year program consisting of 540 total instructional hours, or a summer program consisting of 300 total instructional hours.
VPK is offered at child care facilities that are contracted with the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County. They contain the following requirements as specified in Rule and Law: a license or accreditation, a developmentally appropriate curriculum, manageable class sizes, and qualified instructors. VPK providers are found in public schools and licensed private child care centers and family homes.
VPK instruction is typically scheduled for 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Monday-Friday. However, VPK providers are permitted the flexibility to structure their schedules as they find fit. Although all schedules consist of the same total instructional hours, the days and times may vary.
Parents and guardians have the authority to choose which facility their child will attend for VPK. You might consider the schedule, location, additional services, readiness rate, and curriculum before making this important decision. Please refer to the current list of Approved VPK Providers. If you want help choosing a suitable child care facility, contact our Child Care Resource & Referral Coordinator at (352) 375-4110 (or use the provider search in the Parent Portal).
AS A PARENT, I WANT TO:
The VPK provider lists below include information such as directors, addresses, phone numbers, staff-to-child ratios, curriculum, and more. There is a separate list for each VPK program type: school year and summer. You can find the last modified date at the bottom of each page. Typically, the program year is changed in June or July but the list of VPK providers often remains the same. Therefore, you may reference these lists in preparation for upcoming program years as needed.
The VPK application process is entirely online. We have computers and scanners available to parents at our offices during work hours if they do not have access to the Internet elsewhere. You will need
One proof of current residency: driver’s license, utility bill, or paystub.
One proof of your child’s age: birth certificate, passport, shot records, or military ID.
Information Coming Soon
AS A PROVIDER , I WANT TO:
Contract with ELCAC for the VPK Program
The Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County (ELCAC) would like to welcome all prospective childcare providers to this community of hardworking people dedicated to early childhood education. We are 1 of 30 non-profit organizations across Florida that serve as a resource for families and providers regarding the School Readiness (SR) and Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Programs.
The Division of Early Learning (DEL) is responsible for creating the rules, forms, and databases for the SR and VPK Programs. They partner with all 30 Early Learning Coalitions for implementation. You can find more information on their website (https://www.fldoe.org/schools/early-learning/).
In short, the VPK Program lays the steppingstones to Kindergarten success by following FL developmental standards (https://flbt5.floridaearlylearning.com/). Although VPK is free for families, contracted providers are reimbursed $5.34 per VPK instructional hour for each VPK student in the school year and $8.21 in the summer. The VPK School Year Program consists of 540 total instructional hours and the VPK Summer Program consists of 300 total instructional hours.
If you are interested in offering the VPK Program at your childcare business, you must first complete the following prerequisites before you start the contracting process with ELCAC:
• Obtain a license certificate or license-exemption letter from the Department of Children & Families (DCF). You can find more information on their website (https://www.myflfamilies.com/services/licensing/child-care-licensure). It has many helpful resources for new providers such as operational requirements, budget planning, teacher training, etc. If you are deemed license-exempt, you must also have a Gold Seal certificate or be accredited by an association acknowledged in FL Statute 1002.55 to be eligible to contract with ELCAC (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=1000-1099/1002/Sections/1002.55.html).
• Obtain a commercial general liability insurance policy for your childcare business from an insurance carrier of your choice. You must have our organization listed as both a certificate holder and additionally insured to be eligible to contract with ELCAC.
• Prepare your VPK staff. Your VPK Program must have a qualified VPK director, a qualified lead teacher for each VPK classroom, an aide for each VPK classroom with more than 11 students, and at least one substitute. Click the “VPK School Year Staff Requirements” link in the “Links & Additional Resources” section below for more details.
• Enroll in the E-Verify government database system to confirm eligibility for new hires to work in the United States (https://www.e-verify.gov/). You will be provided with an E-Verify Affidavit to complete during the contracting process.
Once all prerequisites are complete, you can begin the VPK contracting process with ELCAC which is entirely online through the statewide Provider Portal (https://providerservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/Login). This website was deployed by DEL in 2017 to streamline the exchange and verification of required forms and supporting documents. It involves 4 phases in the following order:
• Register for an account. You will need your taxpayer ID and DCF license or license-exemption number to begin the registration. It will then require basic business information regarding the ownership, facility name, physical address, and email address.
• Create a profile. The profile is separated by category into 10 tabs. You will enter the director’s name, contact information, ages served, additional services offered, curriculum, fees and discounts, hours of operation, capacity, private pay rates, planned holiday closures, and various supporting documents. This is the longest phase in the process of becoming a contracted provider. It is pertinent that the profile information is complete and accurate because it feeds into the VPK Contract, and it is used in provider listings for inquiring families.
• Complete a VPK Application. The VPK Application is separated by category into 5 tabs. You will enter the VPK attendance policy, director information with supporting documents, instructors with supporting documents, calendars, and classes.
• Sign a VPK Contract. It is recommended to read the VPK Contract before you decide to move forward as it outlines the responsibilities of both parties during and after contracting. You can find a PDF version of the VPK Contract to read, also known as Form DEL-VPK 20, by clicking the following link: https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-15166.
Each phase of the VPK contracting process comes with its own instructional packet created and distributed by the Provider Contracts Coordinator, Brandi Thomas. To request the first instructional packet or to ask questions about the information on this page, please email email@example.com.
Thank you for your interest and efforts towards serving the children of Alachua County!
Links & Additional Resources:
ELCAC Provider Contracts Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Providers contracted to offer Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten services for children age 4 must use a research-based curriculum, approved by the Florida Office of Early Learning for compliance with the Florida Early Learning and Development Standards.
A well-designed and -implemented curriculum is integral to an effective early learning program. Our goal is to partner with directors, teachers, and family child care home providers to continually improve curriculum practices for the benefit of the young children in our community. For more information and assistance, please contact the ELCAC Director of Programs, Rachel Eubanks (email@example.com).
We invite you to join increasing numbers of School Readiness providers in Alachua County and across the nation who use Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) as an ongoing child assessment. TSG uses technology to link teacher observations with developmental milestones and curriculum planning. No testing – teachers observe as children work and play. Conference forms assist teachers in partnering with parents to support child learning at home as well as in school.
In addition, ELCAC offers periodic training courses and an annual Tracks to Excellence Conference.
Inclusion/Special Needs Services, known as the Warm Line, are available to support any early care and education provider requesting information relating to disability and special health care needs of children.
Technical assistance includes
Positive behavioral support
Laws and regulations (e.g., The Americans with Disabilities Act)
Comprehensive developmental screening program
Community advocacy and collaboration
You may call the Alachua County Warm Line at
(352) 375-4087 or email the ELCAC Child Development and Inclusion Coordinator, Sarah White @ Sarah White.
The Division of Early Learning (DEL) Warm Line information is available at