Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK)
Florida’s voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) program began in 2005, to improve reading readiness and early literacy skills for 4- year-old children prior to kindergarten.
RCMA, the largest single provider of child-care services in Florida, now offers VPK services in 20 rural communities. Like other children RCMA serves, most of those enrolled in VPK speak English as a second language, if at all.
With a mission of hiring staff and teachers from the communities served, RCMA already employs a majority of bilingual staffers. Many of our employees are former migrant farm workers who acquired their child development credential, family development credential, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree after joining RCMA.
Serving a large migrant population, plus other year-round farm and low-income families, RCMA offers the 540-hour VPK program option during the typical academic year and a more condensed, 300-hour summer program in June and July.
This way, even though some children arrive late and leave early, they still receive the required coursework, which is essential to their success later in kindergarten and elementary school.