Free Okaloosa voluntary pre-k program begins Aug. 19

Published: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM.

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 year’s 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.

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