CRESTVIEW Cheri Pittman, the Farmer Street Childcare Network director, wants North Okaloosa County residents to know about the free voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4- to 5-year-olds.


CRESTVIEW Cheri Pittman, the Farmer Street Childcare Network director, wants North Okaloosa County residents to know about the free voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4- to 5-year-olds.



Particularly since the start date is just around the corner.



VPK prepares kids for kindergarten with pre-reading, pre-math, language and social skills. The program, which Florida established in 2005 after state voters approved it in 2002, can give children from any economic situation an educational advantage, Pittman said.



"Without this program, some children would enter kindergarten without having the opportunity to develop their social, emotional and education skills," she said in email.



VPK providers kick off this years program Aug. 19, the same day that Okaloosa County Schools start. Crestview has 10 VPK providers; Holt and Baker each have one, according to the Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties website.



Class sizes are limited, so Pittman suggests interested parents quickly sign up.



Free VPK registration is available 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays.



To get started, North Okaloosa residents ─ who must provide proof of Florida residency and their child's birth certificate ─ can visit Okaloosa-Walton Child Care Services in Crestview, 804 N. Lloyd St.,  or call  689-7885.



North Okaloosa County VPK providers



Alpha & Omega Christian Learning Center, 114 Jones Road, Crestview



Phone: 398-8450



Childcare Network 132, 1040 Farmer Street, Crestview



Phone: 683-1680



Childcare Network 183, 405 Brookmeade Drive, Crestview



Phone: 398-8806



First United Methodist Church, St. Mark Campus, 2250 PJ Adams Parkway, Crestview



Phone: 682-5280



Kid's Discovery 3, 2101 P.J. Adams Parkway, Crestview



Phone: 423-0449



Montessori Children's House, 1374 East Chestnut Avenue, Crestview



Phone: 682-3869



Okaloosa County School District, Southside Center, 650 South Pearl Street, Crestview



Phone: 689-7211



Shoal River Learning Center, 5190 S. Ferdon Boulevard, Crestview



Phone: 682-4700



Sunshine Corner, 2110 3rd Avenue, Crestview



Phone: 306-3137



Wesleyan, First United Methodist Church, 599 Eighth Avenue, Crestview



Phone: 682-7319



Lil' Gators Learning Center LLC, 5800 Washington Street, Baker



Phone: 537-2100



Holt Academy, 422 Highway 90 West, Holt



Phone: 537-8299



FIND IT ONLINE



See elc-ow.org for more information on the free voluntary pre-kindergarten program.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.