Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.
tell me the realities of it. My understanding was that it's a free program for children turning 4 before September 1.....My younger son just turned 4, but there's no free program near us. Our zoned school is a full day program and for a 10-month rate it's close to $200/month. EYE OPENING.
I tried to talk to someone at the early learning office and got so frustrated I inadvertently hung up on the poor woman trying to help me. I'd rather have my kids at the same school, but if I have to pay, then I'll take the 4yo to the Disney Y and then he's already at daycare.
I found some information on the district site, they only have a few free programs....I'm assuming that the cost is more associated with the other half day of day care at Loughman, but she did confirm LO is a 6-hour program.
The program is 540 hours. Some programs are part time, like the one I used to work at. We were 3.25 hours a day and followed the school schedule. We were 100% free. A lot of programs say they are VPK but go for longer than the three hours a day and charge you for the extra time. It just depends on what you can find in your area.
Be aware that not all programs are created equally. I don't know where you are, but in Lakeland, the best ones (when my child went) were Beacon Hill and Grace Church. Check for Gold Seal programs here: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/childcare/goldseal.shtml
To save yourself some frustration, pick up the form at early learning office and fill it out, then take it back another day. I think you can make an appointment. You could grow old waiting in there otherwise. Seems like you have to do it in summer, so I think Courtney is right about it being too early.
VPK has a summer and school year program. They are 3 hours long. Some places have a morning or afternoon program and some schools also have them. If you go to the school websitehttp://www.polk-fl.net/parents/preschool/voluntaryprek.htm it explains how to enroll for VPK at schools. This site will also answer your questions about the program itself. http://www.elcpolk.org/vpk.htm. My daughter went to First Steps Preschool VPK at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland and she did well in it. The VPK was in the morning and then she was also there in the afternoon. The VPK was free and the rest was prorated.
From what I remember when I researched it for my daughter in 2011 there are many daycares that offered VPK but you will still have to pay something. They do not go all day for free.
Thanks for all the input....I knew a portion of it was free. We're in northeast Polk and I'll likely just look for a day care closer to us. I had just hoped to have my kids in the same school, but looks like that won't happen.
Hi my name is Dawn and I work at Grace Lutheran Child Development center. You just contact the Early learning coalition and they will give you all the information you need. Our program at our facility is free from 9-12 and if you want them to stay the whole day it is a fee of $90.00 for the whole week. If you want to call our facility at 863-682-6192 we will be glad to help you with anything you need to get started. We have some flyers and information we would be glad to pass on to you. Also Family Fundamentals in Lakeland is hosting an event on April 6th from 9-12 that is all about early education and the VPK program. This event is free for everyone and should prove to be fun for your kids and informative for you. Hope I was some help have a great Day.
I don't know how old your other child is, but Grace Lutheran is awesome! Both of my kids are there (11 months and 3.5 years), and I look forward to being able to keep my daughter there with my son while allowing her to be part of their great VPK program.
Here's the calendar for Enrollment Events: http://elcpolk.org/PDF/coe.pdf
The Family Fundamentals event is smack in the middle of my work day. :(
My other child is 7, will turn 8 in July.
I'm actually closer to Orlando than Lakeland, I'm still not sure what we'll do. Are the certificates only good in the county you live in? That will make a BIG difference in what we do. I'll feel like I have no choice but to send him to LO