Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County

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.

Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County

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, Ext. 102 (or use the provider search in the Parent Portal).

AS A PARENT, I WANT TO:

Enroll or Re-enroll My Child

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.

Families will need to separately scan and submit supporting age and residency documents in PDF format.

Follow these steps to apply for VPK:

  • 1 Click the following link to navigate to the Family Portal: https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/Login
  • 2 If you are a new user, register for an account with a reliable email address and memorable password.
  • 3 Log into the Family Portal using your email as the user name.
  • 4 Click the blue button that says, “Create a new VPK application.”
  • 5 Complete the basic information and upload the required documents as specified on the Family Portal.
  • 6 Certify the application by typing your first and last name as an electronic signature.

If you experience any technological difficulties during the application process, please contact the Family Portal Help Desk at 1 (850) 717-8600.

Once the application is submitted, it can take up to 5 days for ELCAC to process it. You will receive a notification via email that updates you on the status of your child’s VPK application.

If the application is approved,log into the Family Portal to print the Certificate of Eligibility and deliver it to the VPK provider of your choice.

If the application is rejected, log into the Family Portal to edit the application and make the suggested corrections.

Please download and print the Certificate of Eligibility within a week of being approved. If you cannot print the certificate after being approved, please contact our Staff Support Specialist for assistance.

Download Florida’s VPK Fact Sheet for more information. For assistance with VPK, call (352) 375-4110. Ext. 333. The Division of Early Learning (DEL) administers this program and can be accessed at www.floridaearlylearning.com.

Find a Provider

Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County

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. 

VPK School Year Provider List

VPK Summer Provider List

Learn About Special Services

Information Coming Soon

AS A PROVIDER , I WANT TO:

Contract with ELCAC

Contract with ELCAC for the VPK Program

 

Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County

 

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. ELCAC serves as a resource for families and providers regarding the School Readiness (SR) and Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Programs.

 

The VPK Program lays the steppingstones to Kindergarten success by following FL developmental standards: http://www.floridaearlylearning.com/vpk/vpk-providers/the-vpk-class. Although it is FREE for families, approved VPK providers in Alachua County are reimbursed $4.51 per VPK instructional hour per VPK child enrollment in the School Year Program and $6.93 per VPK instructional hour per VPK child enrollment in the Summer Program. 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 a VPK program at your childcare business, you must first request and receive a license or license exemption letter from the Department of Child and Families (DCF): https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/child-care/child-care-licensure.shtml. Once you’re registered through DCF, you may start the contracting process with ELCAC.

 

The contracting process is now entirely online through the statewide Provider Portal. This website was deployed by the Florida Office of Early Learning (OEL) in 2017 to streamline the exchange and verification of required forms and supporting documents. It has gone through many data fixes and feature releases throughout its first few years. We appreciate your patience and understanding as it continues to be developed. Furthermore, please be aware that you are welcome to use the shared resources (internet, computers, scanners, printers, etc.) in our main lobby during normal business hours.

 

To start the contracting process with ELCAC, create an account in the Provider Portal by clicking the blue “here” on the righthand side of the log-in page: https://providerservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/Login. The account must be created by an individual authorized as a contract representative for your childcare business such as the owner or director. After you have successfully registered for an account, email the ELCAC Provider Contracts Coordinator, Brandi Thomas (bthomas@elcalachua.org), to request activation. Please keep in mind that each step in the contracting process requires approval before the next step is available so don’t be discouraged if you can’t move forward right away.

 

Once your account is activated by ELCAC, Brandi Thomas (bthomas@elcalachua.org) will email you a locally created instructional packet to help you create a profile in the Provider Portal. Profiles contain both Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) and contract information. The CCR&R data will be shared with the governor’s office, legislature, state officials, agencies, and families seeking childcare. It’s a wonderful opportunity to market your program to a wide range of families at no cost! The contract data will be auto-populated into fixed fields of the VPK Contract later in the contracting process. For these reasons, it is imperative that your profile is entirely accurate.

 

All status changes within the Provider Portal trigger an automatic email notification from DONOTREPLY@oel.myflorida.com. Profiles are often rejected multiple times before approval due to inconsistent or missing information. If your profile is rejected, you will find a list of corrections needed written by ELCAC in the “Additional Comments” section at the bottom of the email from DONOTREPLY@oel.myflorida.com. It is recommended that you check your email inbox daily as email is ELCAC’s main form of communication.

 

After your profile is changed to an “Active” status by ELCAC, Brandi Thomas will email you another locally created instructional packet to help you complete a VPK Application and VPK Contract. The VPK Application will consist of your VPK attendance policy, director, instructors, calendars, and classes. The VPK Contract will consist of auto-populated business information, FL Rule/Statute dictating the responsibilities of each party, and some additional voluntary options. The contracting process is complete when your VPK Contract is set to a “Certified” status by ELCAC. Then, you will be considered an approved VPK provider for Alachua County!

 

If you have questions regarding VPK provider eligibility or the contracting process, please email Brandi Thomas (bthomas@elcalachua.org). If you would like a general orientation, please email the ELCAC Director of Programs, Rachel Eubanks (reubanks@elcalachua.org). You can also browse OEL’s website for more details about the SR Program: http://www.floridaearlylearning.com/school-readiness/school-readiness-providers.

 

Thank you for your interest and efforts towards serving the children of Alachua County!

 

Additional Resources:

Profile Supporting Documents

VPK School Year Staff Requirements 

VPK Summer Staff Requirements

VPK-Endorsement Guide for Director Credentials

 

Enhance My Curriculum

 

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 (reubanks@elcalachua.org).

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.

 

Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County
Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County

Request Assistance for a Child with Special Needs

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
  • Curriculum
  • Strategies
  • Child development
  • Health
  • Environmental adaptations
  • 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 Director of Programs, Rachel Eubanks (reubanks@elcalachua.org).

The Division of Early Learning (DEL) Warm Line information is available at
http://www.floridaearlylearning.com/providers/provider_resources/inclusion_warm_line_network.aspx

Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County
Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County