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For assistance, please call the Early Childhood Learning administrative office at (863) 648-3051.

Early Childhood Learning Programs

Polk County Public Schools’ early childhood learning programs are designed to support all families as they take their critical first steps in planning their child’s education. PCPS offers multiple options tailored to your child’s needs.


A fundamental principle of early childhood development and education is to provide all children with a safe, nurturing, engaging, enjoyable, and secure learning environment to help them gain the awareness, skills, and confidence necessary to succeed in their present environment and to deal with later responsibilities in school and life.

Each child is treated as an individual in an inclusive community that values, respects, and responds to diversity. The varied experiences provided by the Head Start, Title One, and VPK programs support the entire continuum of children’s growth and development including physical, social, emotional and cognitive.

What to Expect

Our early learning classrooms have low student-to-teacher ratios and are staffed by highly qualified instructors with appropriate degrees and state DOE/DCF certifications. We offer programs such as Head Start, Title One, VPK, and ESE classrooms to ensure we meet the needs of every child.

Instructors will direct activities and provide consistent daily routines that will offer children opportunities for exploration and learning. Our instructors use research-based techniques to support students’ socialization and language growth. We promote good health and safety habits with consistent supervision and maintain high program standards.

Program Options

  • Head Start (Ages 3-4)

    Head Start is a federally funded program that promotes school readiness for children under the age of 5 from low-income families through education, health, social and other services. Income guidelines apply, and a significant emphasis is placed on parental involvement. Head Start is currently offered at 26 sites and serves 942 students throughout Polk County.

  • Voluntary PreK (Age 4)

    Voluntary Prekindergarten, or VPK is a no-cost statewide program for all 4 year-old children for 3 instructional hours per day. Extended parent pay option available at many locations. Children must be four years old on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year to be eligible. Parents must submit the child’s VPK Certificate of Eligibility issued by the State of Florida with Polk County Schools’ PreK application. VPK is currently offered at 22 sites throughout Polk County and serves approximately 550 students.

  • Title I PK

    Title 1 PK is a federally funded program for 4-year-old children residing in select Title 1 school zones. Parents must submit the child’s VPK Certificate of Eligibility issued by the State of Florida with Polk County Public Schools’ PK application. Title 1 PK is currently offered at 22 sites throughout Polk County and serves 472 students.

  • ESE PreK

    Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Prekindergarten services are provided to children from 3-5 years of age who meet the criteria for any of the following disabilities as defined by the Florida Department of Education and in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA): developmental delay, language impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, deaf or hard of hearing, dual-sensory impairment, intellectual disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, traumatic brain injury, speech impairment, visual impairment

  • Campus KidCare

    Campus KidCare is a before/after school enrichment program offered through a partnership between Polk County Public Schools and local childcare providers. The programs are housed at several elementary school sites and serve elementary-aged children.