Early Learning in Broward County Florida
Welcome to Broward County
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) believes Pre-Kindergarten can have a positive influence on children’s development and school readiness by providing valuable educational and social experiences. BCPS has a variety of early learning program models for children from birth to 5-years old which includes instruction built on social and emotional skills, rich play, toys, games, art, music and movement. Our programs are focused on meeting the needs of families and children by providing direct services in BCPS schools and also supports children enrolled in community early learning centers. This collaboration is essential to ensuring that ALL Broward County children develop academic and social skills that will prepare them for Kindergarten and beyond.
Below are descriptions of the early learning programs available through Broward County Public Schools.
Birth to Five-Year-Old Programs
The Head Start/Early Intervention Department houses the Head Start, Early Head Start, and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs. These programs provide early education opportunities and comprehensive services to students Birth to 5-years old and their families.
Early Head Start (EHS)
Early Head Start (EHS) is a federally-funded program that provides free educational and support services to children from birth to 3-years old from low income families, including homeless, foster care, and students with disabilities. EHS targets the entire family but the support is tailored for pregnant moms, infants and toddlers up to age three. Participating children will transition from EHS into the Head Start preschool classrooms, then directly into Kindergarten.
To learn more about Early Head Start eligibility and enrollment, please visit the Head Start/Early Intervention website.
Head Start (HS)
Head Start (HS) is a federally-funded program that provides free educational and support services to children from 3- to 5-years old from low income families, including homeless, foster care, and students with disabilities. The Head Start program provides free, comprehensive services to low-income families and their children. The Head Start program targets the entire family and the services include high-quality classroom instruction, health and developmental screenings, family engagement and goal setting.
Head Start (HS)/Integrated
Provides a full school-day of instruction in a classroom with typically developing students and students with disabilities. Head Start 3- and 4-year old integrated programs are available at selected schools.
To learn more about Head Start eligibility and enrollment, please visit the Head Start/Early Intervention website.
Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)
VPK is a State-funded program that provides Pre-Kindergarten instruction to 4 and 5-year-olds. VPK classes are available in both District classrooms and community-based early learning centers. The District VPK programs provide opportunities for both full day and half day classes. District models include:
- VPK/Enrichment (Title I Supported) – Provides free, full school day (6 hour) of instruction funds at selected Title 1 schools.
- VPK/Enrichment (fee supported) – Provides 3 hours of free VPK plus the option of an additional 3 hours of instruction funded through tuition.
- VPK/Early Learning Labs (Offered at select high schools in conjunction with the CTACE program) – Provides 3 hours of free VPK plus the option of an additional 3 hours of instruction funded through tuition. High school students enrolled in the Early Childhood program at the school work directly with the VPK students throughout the day.
- VPK/ESLS Integrated – Provides a full school day of instruction in a classroom with typically developing students and students with disabilities. Free and fee-supported VPK/ESLS Integrated program models are available at selected schools.
- Head Start/VPK Extended Day – Provides 3 free hours of VPK from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at participating locations.
To learn more about VPK eligibility and enrollment, please visit the VPK website.
Preschool Exceptional Student Learning Support (Preschool ESLS)
Opportunities are available for preschoolers with disabilities whose educational needs can be appropriately served in the general education setting with minor support. Determination for enrollment is made by a multi-disciplinary team, including the parents. Preschool ESLS programs are available at selected schools.
Parents/Guardians of a child birth to age 5 that have an educational concern or suspect that their child may have a disability should contact the Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource Services (FDLRS)/Child Find at 754-321-7200.
To learn more about the Preschool ESLS programs, please visit the Exceptional Student Learning Support website.
High quality child care for children from birth to five years old is available in a variety of settings in Broward County. There are both free and fee-based programs available throughout the county. The Early Learning Coalition of Broward County provides many resources through their website about community-based early learning centers in Broward County.
Broward 2-1-1 works with the Early Learning Coalition to provide information and resources to families, including information about child care and community-based early learning centers. Parents can access the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Services through Broward 2-1-1 for assistance with locating an appropriate early learning center. Broward 2-1-1 also provides a variety of resources for parents including links to Family Guides for Parents and a Checklist for determining quality care.