If your child turns 4 before September 1, 2017, you have probably heard about the best educational opportunity available in the State of Florida: Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (better known as VPK).
There are thousands of VPK providers in the state (and over 1,000 in Miami-Dade County alone!) With so many options, how can you know which program is right for your child? There are a few important features that you should look for when selecting a VPK provider. Consider this a checklist that you can take on school tours!
1) Teacher Qualifications
VPK Instructors are required to be more qualified than your average preschool teacher. What you want to look for are teachers who have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements. Does the teacher have any formal education or certifications? How long have they been teaching at the same school? Most importantly, how much experience do they have?
There is no replacement for quality instructors (after all, they are the ones instructing your child!) Make sure you know the educational and professional background of your child’s future teacher before making your decision.
The purpose of the VPK program is to ensure that children are prepared to enter Kindergarten. The truth is that the educational standards for Kindergarten are constantly evolving, and the bar is set higher each year. The bare minimum preschool standards that VPK programs are required to follow have not kept up with the Kindergarten standards, leaving a big gap for graduates of programs who are just doing what is required by law.
Find yourself a program that will push your child academically. Learning happens when the mind is challenged, so you shouldn’t be afraid of academics. Look for programs that respect your child’s budding intelligence and provide developmentally appropriate practices for their students. Make your investment in VPK an investment in watching your child thrive.
At four years old, your child may feel ready to conquer the world, but in reality, they are still preschoolers. They still need love, nurturing, and support in order to develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in life.
You will know the moment you walk into a preschool if the atmosphere is right for your child. Are the teachers warm and affectionate? Do they speak to the children at their level? Do the students seem happy and excited to be in school?
The most important factor in your child’s academic success is their motivation to come to school each day. Finding a program that makes your child feel loved, competent, and stimulated is not always easy, but you will know it when you have found the perfect program.
Check back with us next week when we will highlight the TOP VPK provider in Miami-Dade County! You don’t want to miss it!