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VPK an important first step on a child’s educational path

February 20, 2019
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

I'd like to share with you and our community the importance of VPK (Voluntary Pre Kindergarten) attendance.

I'm a local VPK teacher in a daycare center. I've worked at this center for 23 years. Over the years I've discovered that the kids take VPK much more seriously than the parents! The children are always excited to come to school and are ready for whatever I have in store for them. Unfortunately, they don't drive yet. Some parents can't seem to ever get their children to school on time, or even there at all!

Let me be clear, I understand there are circumstances that can't be prevented... sometimes. I'm referring to excessive absences and tardiness. It's become more problematic in recent years. Parents have no idea just how much we have to teach their precious little ones, and we only have 3 hours per day to do it!! Now obviously ABC's and 123's are important but there's so much more. Social skills, communication skills, name recognition, writing and math skills are just a few.

I'm also required to administer a "VPK assessment" twice a year. This records the child's progress in certain areas AND makes the teachers accountable. I'm not, however, able to include in the children's results how many absences they had during the school year or how many times they were tardy. Unfortunately, I'm not able to just simply assign makeup work to the child when absent. Each day consists of "hands on" learning and LOTS of conversation! If a child is excessively absent or tardy they miss those important things.

I believe that a child's preschool education is just as important as the rest of their education. It lays a foundation that will be with them for the rest of their school career. The more they learn in VPK, the more they learn in kindergarten and so on. So please parents, start your little one's education off on the right foot. Take your children to school every day - and be on time!

Brandi Hughley

Cape Coral



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