What are the ages of preschool children?
- A child must be at least 3 years old on or before September 1st of the year they wish to enroll in Pre-K.
- If a child turns 5 years old on or before September 1st, they should be enrolled in kindergarten.
- If a child turns 5 years old on or after September 2nd, they are age-eligible for Pre-K.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost.
What are the eligibility requirements?
A child must meet the above age requirement, must reside in Philadelphia, PA, and the family must be income-eligible for the funding that is offered in the location/s of choice. Families applying for a Head Start location must meet the Head Start income guidelines; families applying for a Bright Futures location must meet the Bright Futures/Pre-K Counts income guidelines. There are no income requirements for PHL (PHILLY) prek.
What are the Head Start income guidelines?
The income guideline, determined by the Federal Poverty Guideline, is issued each January in the Federal Register by the Department of Human Services, and is available online at www.hhs.gov. Families applying to a Head Start center must be at or below the Federal Poverty Guideline. (Some families above the guideline are admitted in the fall if space is available.) The Head Start Parent Handbook provides parents with an understanding of the mission, philosophy, policies, and procedures followed by the Centers.
What are the Bright Futures/Pre-K Counts income guidelines?
The income guideline, determined by the Federal Poverty Guideline, is issued each January in the Federal Register by the Department of Human Services, and is available online at www.hhs.gov. Families applying to a Bright Futures/Pre-K Counts center must be at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. The Bright Futures Parent Handbook provides parents with an understanding of the mission, philosophy, policies, and procedures followed by the Centers.
How do I apply?
Do parents have to complete a new preschool application if the child is returning to the program for a 2nd year?
Most parents do not have to complete a new application; a new set of CACFP lunch forms are required for all Bright Futures students.
When will I know if my child is accepted for admission to the program?
You will be notified by mail, by telephone call or by email of your child’s acceptance or waiting-list status within 6 weeks of submission of your child’s completed application. Notification may be delayed depending on the time of year application was submitted.
Why is my child on the wait list and how long can my child stay on the wait list?
Each location has a maximum funded capacity. A waiting list is established when the number of applications exceeds the capacity. It is possible for a child to remain on the waiting list for the entire school year. Admitting a waiting-list child to Pre-K is dependent on another child leaving the Pre-K program at a particular location. When an opening occurs, a family on the waiting list for that particular location is called.
What are the days and hours?
Pre-K is a September – June program, following The School District’s school year calendar; hours may vary, by location, but general hours are:
Monday – Thursday, 8:30-3:00
Are uniforms required?
Uniforms are not a mandatory requirement for Pre-K students; however, some principals require the Pre-K children to wear the school’s uniform colors. Uniform information will be discussed at parent orientation. Children should wear comfortable clothing that will allow for active participation in program activities. Socks are to be worn at all times. Only sneakers or closed shoes should be worn. Jewelry, small beads and other fashion accessories are unsafe and must not be worn.
Will my child be given lunch?
Pre-K employs a full-time dietitian to assess the nutritional needs of children and families. We provide FREE meals daily and accommodate all food restrictions/needs.
Is there school bus service?
Transportation services through The School District of Philadelphia are not provided for Pre-K children.
Is there before and after care services?
Some of our community partner locations offer before and after care. Many of our School District sites are near daycares that will pick up and drop off at the school. Contact our office for more information.
Will I be able to meet my child’s teacher and see his/her classroom before the first day of school?
Yes, parents of newly enrolled children will have this opportunity during an orientation meeting that is scheduled between the parent and teacher. Parents will get one-on-one conferences with their child’s teacher throughout the year to discuss their child’s progress and any family concerns. These conferences can take place in the family’s home or at the school.
What does my child learn?
Teachers use a high-quality curriculum that meets Pennsylvania State Standards for PreKindergarten, defines best teaching practices, includes methods and materials that respect the rich cultural heritages and diverse learning styles of all our children while including activities that connect school and home.
How is the classroom organized?
A typical preschool classroom is divided into the following learning centers: Library, Writing, Science, Math, Dramatic Play, Blocks, Art, Music, Computers, Puzzles and Games
What does a typical day look like?
Breakfast, Circle Time, Focus – Literacy/Independent Activities, Outdoors, Story Time, Small Groups
Lunch, Story Time, Rest Time, Snack, Story Time
What if my child has a medical condition?
Pre-K families have access to nurses, special needs coordinators, and mental health specialists to deliver comprehensive health services for children and families.
What if my child has an IEP?
Students with IEPS are served on-site, closely coordinated with Early Intervention team. Mental health consultants are available to all centers and work closely with the family to address any concerns.
Can someone other than parent/guardian escort my child to school?
Parents, or an escort designated by parents, are required to use the escort book to sign their child into and out of the center each day. Parents, or an escort designated by parents, are required to accompany their child into the classroom. Children are only released to persons whose names appear on the center records as an escort. Escorts must show picture identification, for example, a driver’s license or employer or school ID. Escorts must be at least eighteen (18) years old.
Can parents get involved?
Pre-K provides parents with many opportunities to be engaged and involved including education and cultural enrichment events, classroom participation, various program sub-committees, and program decision making.