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Early Learning

DCPS is proud to offer free, high quality, full-day Pre-Kindergarten education to 3- and 4-year-olds across all Wards in Washington, DC.

The Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) enrollment process begins with the My School DC common application. Placements are determined through a fair and equitable lottery system managed by the Deputy Mayor for Education. The lottery application process for school year 2017-2018 was open from December 12, 2016 – March 1, 2017. Results were released on March 31, 2017 and families were required to complete enrollment to their assigned schools by May 1, 2017.

Families still interested in Pre-K for school year 2017-2018 can be added to schools’ waitlists by visiting  My School DC. For information on spaces currently available at schools visit My School DC. Questions? Call the My School DC hotline at (202) 888-6336.

Applicants not placed at their in-boundary school for Pre-K have the right to attend Kindergarten at their in-boundary school if they turn 5 by September 30 of that school year. Please visit the DC Enrollment Boundary Information System page to find your in-boundary school. We also encourage you to check out our School Profiles for more in-depth information about each DCPS school.

Head Start

Head Start-eligible families should apply for PK3 and PK4 through the lottery process described above. The Head Start program is offered at all Title I elementary schools and education campuses.

School Calendar

DCPS PK3 and PK4 classrooms operate on the regular school system calendar, except for Early Childhood Transition Week. This special transition period occurs during the first week of the school year. To help ease the transition from home or daycare to school, most schools opt to start PK3 and PK4 with a shortened week. All enrolled Early Childhood families will receive direct communication about Transition Week closer to the start of the school year.

DC Kindergarten Readiness Standards

All DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs are aligned to the District of Columbia Common Core Early Learning Standards[PDF].

Recess and Rest Time

Children have daily recess and rest time (nap time). Academic specials are offered at all schools and vary from Mandarin Chinese to Creative Arts. School-specific information is available in each School Profile.

Before Care and After Care Services

Children enrolled in Early Childhood are eligible for before-care and after-care services. Children enrolled in after-care receive a free supper as part of the program. Program costs are determined based on a sliding-fee scale. Visit our Afterschool Programs page for more information.

Additional Services

At Title I schools, DCPS Early Childhood provides comprehensive wraparound services including family supports, developmental screenings, assistance accessing social services, and vision, hearing, and dental screenings. To determine if your child’s school is Title I, please visit our School Profiles or consult this list.

For more information about DCPS Early Childhood: