From birth to age 5, your child’s brain will grow more rapidly than any other time in their life. For this reason, it’s important for a child to receive a quality early education. That being said… Let’s talk a little about free preschool.
What it is
Universal preschool is a publicly funded preschool that you can send your child to for free. The problem with universal preschool is that not all states and districts provide it, and a lot of the universal preschool programs available don’t meet quality standards for education. Some districts that offer universal preschool may have enrollment requirements.
Who It’s For
Visit NIEER to find out if your state offers universal preschool, and if the universal preschools in your state are meeting quality standards. If your state offers universal preschool, head over to Free Preschools to search for free preschools in your area.
Your state may require you to enroll your preschooler within a specific school district, or you may be able to choose any school you like. If you’re unsure what your state’s requirements are, check out our article HOW TO FIND YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL DISTRICT.
HEAD START PROGRAM
What It is
If your state doesn’t offer universal preschool, don’t lose hope just yet. Head start is a federally funded program dedicated to helping children receive an early education. Head start focuses on:
- Early learning and development
- Family well being
Because Head Start is family oriented, parents/ guardians are very involved in the program. Programs may provide transportation to and from school, or may even provide in-home services.
Who It’s For
Head start is available for low income families with children from birth to age 5. Head Start offers services to families experiencing homelessness, children in the foster care system, and children with disabilities and other special needs, through four different programs.
1. Head Start
School readiness program for children ages 3-5
2. Early Head Start
Services for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women.
3. American Indian And Alaska Native Head Start
Provides cultural and language practice based on the needs of the community.
4. Migrant And Seasonal Head Start
Provides services to children of agricultural laborers.
Find out more about eligibility requirements, and apply for services here.
K-12 FUNDING FORMULA
What It Is
9 states offer other state funded preschool programs. These states are:
Who It’s For
These programs are for anyone that would like to send their child to preschool, and also meet the eligibility requirements that vary by state.
Free Preschool: What is it, And Who Is It For?
It’s an early education provided to all who are in need of one.
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