If you’re a parent, you know that VPK is a big stepping stone between preschool and the rest of your child’s education. But, what is VPK? It stands for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, and it’s a state-run preschool program that funds education for the year leading into kindergarten when children are four years old. Florida was one of the first states in the country to offer the VPK program free to families of all income levels. Meaning that, regardless of income, 4-year-olds in the state of Florida have a right to a kindergarten preparation program.
It’s an incredible program that levels the playing field in many ways for students of all income levels to feel more prepared when they enter kindergarten. It’s a program we think residents of the state of Florida should know more about and should be very proud of.
There are many VPK options, and thankfully they are monitored by the state to ensure that all providers are meeting minimum requirements. But as in all situations, not all VPK programs are alike. They are often situated within daycare or preschool programs, which may have different standards for education than a K-8 school.
At St. Barnabas, we are especially proud of our preschool program and, specifically, our VPK program. We love to see how families use VPK as a gateway to enter our community and provide their children with the best kind of education that our community offers. If you are interested in VPK at Saint Barnabas, here is some information we think you should know about how private schools naturally excel at preparing children for their formal education.
More Attention Translates To More Preparedness
We could go on and on about small class-size, but you see the rubber hit the road when you start to notice how much attention each student gets in a smaller class setting. When teachers in public schools are asked to manage classes of 30 students at a time, it’s impossible to ensure that every student’s needs are being met. As we all know, our brains are entirely wired differently from one another. Some of us learn better from hearing, some of us are visual learners, and it’s hard to expect teachers with large classrooms to identify and then cater to each child’s specific needs. Along with more attention from teachers comes more accountability and more preparedness. On the surface, it may seem that VPK is simply a space-filler before real learning begins, but we argue that it’s better described as the foundation upon which your child’s educational future will be built.
Development Of Social And Relationship Skills
Of course, we know that preschool programs are not just about learning rudimentary skills. One of the most valuable things that children learn in their early education is social skills and navigating in a group of children. Our school is uniquely adept at helping students gain social and emotional awareness, and we believe that’s directly tied to our strong values. Values are directly integrated into your child’s learning throughout the school day in our preschool and elementary and middle school classes. We are passionate about helping your children learn math skills and teaching them how to be kind and generous. Not every school you visit will have the experience or the capacity to come alongside parents and help develop talented and emotionally competent kids.
Early Identification Of Strengths And Weaknesses
As a parent, you see the strengths and weaknesses that your children develop early on. Some are more athletically inclined, while others learn to read more quickly or have more analytical brains. Sometimes we forget that children are fully formed human beings with talents and struggles and personalities on their own. Small intimate VPK classes at Saint Barnabas school are the perfect environment for parents and teachers to begin to identify the strengths and weaknesses that already exist in our children. Of course, this is not to make them feel bad but to figure out how to help accommodate them as they grow and get them the resources they need to receive the best education available to them. This early stage of their education is an incredible time to undertake this reconnaissance mission because the stakes are low. When you wait until middle school to address your child’s strengths and weaknesses, you are coming up against state testing and report cards, and stress is high. Relieve yourself and your children of anxiety by taking the time now to dig into what makes them tick so that you can give them the tools they need to succeed.
If you’re feeling the pressure to execute this stage of your child’s education flawlessly, please let us relieve you of it. You are doing a great job, and your preschool student will be just fine. VPK is an incredible tool in parents’ arsenal, and we are proud to offer it at the highest level to our community. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about VPK and preschool at St. Barnabas School.