Early Childhood Programs and Kindergarten
Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Education Preschool Services (PEEPS)
Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Education
Services for pre-kindergarten for children with developmental delays and disabilities are authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children ages three to five who meet eligibility requirements can receive services designed to meet each child's individual needs. Developmentally appropriate learning experiences provide opportunities for individual growth and assistance with areas of special need.
The goal of the Pre-kindergarten Exceptional Education Program is to offer early intervention to improve each child's level of functioning and enhance successful entry into Kindergarten, with appropriate supports based on individual need.
A child with a disability who is age three to five may be eligible under one or more of the following categories:
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Developmentally Delayed
- Dual Sensory Impaired
- Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impaired
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Speech and Language
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visually Impaired
Additionally, Physical and Occupational Therapy are available to children who require these services within the educational environment.
Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Education services are provided at no cost to the parent.
Special instructional services are provided for approximately 3,000 children ages three to five with developmental delays or disabilities. For many children, part-time, specially designed instruction is provided at the child's community preschool in locations throughout the county. Additionally, developmentally appropriate classrooms designed to meet the needs of young children are located in 93 elementary schools and three exceptional centers. Teaching staff include a certified teacher and a paraprofessional (teacher assistant). The educational environment offers many opportunities for active learning experiences in key developmental areas which include language, fine and gross motor, socialization, self-help, and readiness skills. Intervention for individual special needs is interwoven into the curriculum as appropriate for each child.
Parent involvement is an integral part of this program and begins at the point of referral, through screening and assessment, and continues at the school level. Parents are invited and encouraged to participate in the development of their child's Individual Education Plan (IEP). Additionally, Parent Liaisons are available to assist parents with transition, IEPs, or other needs on an individual basis.
When parents have concerns about their child's development, they may contact Child Find at (813) 837-7777 to make a referral. Child Find is part of the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) which is a department within Hillsborough County Public Schools. Child Find staff will assist parents in arranging for a developmental screening and/or assessment for the child to determine if services are required.
Developmental Screening Schedules are available in English and Spanish.
Each summer, our school district provides the VPK program at approximately 20 schools throughout the district. This program is offered from 7:30 AM to 6 PM (M-TH) and runs through the entire summer. The program provides a quality instructional program. Free breakfast and lunch are included at all sites. NOTE: The locations for the summer program will be available each March. For more information, call the VPK Office at (813) 272-4840.
Head Start/VPK Blended Classrooms
The Head Start program offered through Hillsborough County Public Schools has approximately 30 classrooms that provide extended days (until 4:30). Families that need this extended time will be able to take advantage of both Head Start and VPK funding through these blended programs. Students who participate in the blended Head Start/VPK programs must qualify for the Head Start program first. Children enrolled in a blended Head Start/VPK school year program will not be eligible for the summer VPK program. For questions regarding the blended Head Start/VPK program, please contact the Head Start office at (813) 970-7870.
PEEPS/VPK Blended Classrooms
The district also provides VPK blended with our Primary Exceptional Education Preschool Services (PEEPS) in approximately 90 classrooms across the district. In these classrooms, 8 PEEPS students are blended with 9 VPK students. This model provides a regular school day program running from 7:40 AM until 1:55 PM throughout the school year. Bell times may vary at certain sites. Important note: The first 3 hours of the day are our VPK program hours (7:40 AM - 10:40 AM). The remainder of the day (10:40 AM – 1:55 PM) is our Extended Learning Time and a fee applies for these hours.
For questions about this program please contact the VPK office at (813) 272-4840.
New for 2018-2019 – Any age-eligible child may apply for this program. This is not blended with any other program. Children may leave after the 3 hours of VPK or may be picked up at any time up until closing. Fees for the extended time may apply.
- Closing at 5:45: Bay Crest, Bellamy, Forest Hills, Kimbell, Morgan Woods
- Closing at 1:55: Knights, Phillip Shore