Florida is a leader in providing free pre-kindergarten education to all four-year-olds in the state, regardless of family income. A voluntary pre-kindergarten program offers an excellent foundation of knowledge and skills that can help children thrive in kindergarten and the years beyond.
Whether you are considering enrolling your child in a VPK or simply want to know more about this incredible program, it can be helpful to understand the benefits of this kind of high-quality early childhood education.
Keep reading to learn eight of the most significant benefits of sending your child to a VPK. Reach out to the dedicated team of educators at Little Sunshine Preschool to learn more about our programs or to schedule a visit to our school.
8 Benefits of Sending Your Child to a VPK
Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life are a critical time for growth and development. Children in this stage of life are like little sponges, soaking up information and exploring their environment. A VPK program gives children a wide range of educational experiences that can set them up for success in school later on.
Here are eight of the most significant benefits of sending your child to a VPK.
1. Kindergarten readiness
Kindergarten readiness can mean many things. It can mean having adequate preparation for the academic aspects of kindergarten, being able to regulate your emotions, having the ability to follow a predictable schedule, or knowing how to join a group and get along with other children.
Attending a VPK helps children prepare for all aspects of kindergarten: emotional, social, physical, and educational. Research shows that children who participate in high-quality pre-K programs do better in school and have greater success later in life.
2. Better social skills
The social aspect of kindergarten can be overwhelming for children who do not have a chance to learn and practice social skills before starting school. In a VPK, children learn essential skills, such as making new friends, respecting others’ bodies and space, and cooperating with others. These skills are not only crucial in kindergarten–they’re beneficial for life!
3. Crucial cognitive skills
Voluntary pre-kindergarten programs are destined to boost a child’s cognitive development by teaching skills, including:
- Language proficiency
- Emotional awareness
- Critical thinking
Children who attend a VPK learn how to think creatively and develop resilience that will serve them well in kindergarten and throughout their education.
4. Physical development
Children in a VPK engage in hands-on and active learning that can boost their physical capabilities and improve fine and gross motor skills. Children also have access to breakfast and lunch at school daily, giving them regular, nutritious meals that can fuel their learning.
Outdoor play is an essential part of early childhood education, and a VPK typically includes plenty of outdoor time in an enriching play space. Children are encouraged to explore and play, helping them to gain more strength and confidence as they overcome new challenges.
5. Improved communication skills
Good communication skills can help children thrive in school by giving them more confidence in the classroom. Kids with excellent communication skills are better able to understand and follow directions and have the ability to ask for what they need.
VPK programs provide children opportunities to learn and practice language skills, improve their vocabulary, and develop pre-reading skills that will benefit them throughout kindergarten and elementary school.
6. Better self-esteem
Children who attend a VPK develop confidence in their ability to solve problems, ask for help when they need it, and be separated from caregivers. Because a VPK can give kids a great foundation of reading, math, and social skills, kids enter kindergarten with knowledge that can decrease their stress in the classroom and improve self-esteem.
7. Less anxiety
A VPK focuses on preparing kids to be successful in all areas of kindergarten. Children who participate in a voluntary pre-kindergarten program begin kindergarten with a wide range of skills and experiences that can make the transition into full-time school much less stressful. They feel more comfortable being away from caregivers, know how to follow a daily schedule, understand a teacher’s instructions, and have experience getting along with others. These practical skills and their expansive knowledge of numbers, letters, and other essential subjects can significantly reduce a child’s anxiety about starting kindergarten.
8. Emotional regulation
VPK educators focus on recognizing emotions and using effective strategies to manage them. Kids in a VPK learn to wait patiently, cooperate with others, and work as a team to solve problems. Children who attend a VPK develop empathy, patience, and other emotional regulation skills that are beneficial in kindergarten and throughout their lives.
Learn More About the Benefits of Sending Your Child to VPK
There are so many benefits to sending your child to VPK. If you live in Florida and have a preschool-aged child, reach out to the team at Little Sunshine Preschool to learn about our VPK program. Call now to learn more about our school or to schedule a tour.