The application process for the 2020-2021 school year begins on March 16, 2020.
The FCPS Pre-Kindergarten program is a state-funded program for 4 year olds who meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Child must be four years old on or before September 1st of the current school year
- Child must reside in Frederick County
- Children whose families qualify under the Free and Reduced-Price Meal income guidelines and children who are homeless or in foster care receive automatic placement into the Pre-Kindergarten program.
Is Pre-Kindergarten Mandatory?
No, pre-kindergarten is not a mandatory program for all students in Maryland. Because of this, pre-kindergarten is not available in every Frederick County elementary school. Elementary schools without a pre-kindergarten program are paired with a nearby school that offers a pre-kindergarten program. See Paired School List.
If you are unsure of your child's home school, you can look at the boundary maps or contact Student Services at (301) 644-5238.
Pre-Kindergarten Application Process
Application packets are available each year at your child’s home school or paired school. See Paired School List. Before your application is considered, the home school or paired school must receive your completed application along with the following documentation:
- Copy of your child’s birth certificate
- Current Immunization Records
- Proof of residence in Frederick County – please provide one of the following:
- Current utility bill (electric/water/gas)
- Tax bill (homeowner)
- Signed lease agreement (renter)
- Not Accepted: phone bills, cable bills, or driver's license
Household Income Verification
If you think you qualify under the Free and Reduced-Price Meal (FARM) income guidelines, total Household Gross Income must be verified to qualify for Automatic Placement in pre-kindergarten. Household Gross Income MUST be documented by providing one of the following for EACH Household Member receiving income:
- Food Supplemental Program (FSP) Letter of Verification
- Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) Letter of Verification
- Three consecutive paystubs within the past six months for each job
- W-2 form(s) from last year for each job or Federal Tax Return
- Other: Schedule C/1099 (if self-employed), a letter on letterhead from your employer(s) stating your income, child support and court order or letter, unemployment, disability income, etc.
Household Member - Anyone who is living with you and shares income and expenses, even if not related.
Priority for Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment
Automatically Accepted – Free and Reduced-Price Meal (FARM), Homeless, Foster Care
High Priority for Acceptance – Documented Disability, English Language Learners (ELL)
- If your child has a documented disability, please provide a current Individual Education Plan (IEP) form.
Low Priority for Acceptance – Other risk factors for school readiness
Pre-Kindergarten Bus Transportation
When children reside outside of their regular school attendance area (paired school situation), parents are responsible for transporting their child.
See FCPS Policy 441 (opens in new window) for details.
Pre-kindergarten is a 1/2 day program – Monday through Friday. Whether your child will be a morning or an afternoon student is decided at the school level, prior to the beginning of the school year.
Pre-Kindergarten Out of District Requests
- Pre-kindergarten Out of District Forms are available at your child’s home school or paired school.
- Once your completed pre-kindergarten application has been received and the priority level has been determined, the home school or paired school will forward the request to the Early Childhood Education Office.
- In mid-August, pre-kindergarten enrollment numbers and space availability will be reviewed to determine if Out of District Requests can be considered; Automatics are given first priority.
- The home school or paired school will notify the family if their Out of District request was approved or declined. If approved, the family is responsible for transportation of their child to the Out of District school.
- Regulation 400-91- Prekindergarten Enrollment
- Regulation 500-10 Placement and Promotion of Students
- Policy 430 Age Requirements
- Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Development - Families
- Developmental Milestones (for children 2 months to five years)
- Fitting the Pieces Together: Parent Information Guide in English for Pre-Kindergarten
- Fitting the Pieces Together: Parent Information Guide in Spanish for Pre-Kindergarten
- Ready @ Five - Parent tips, parent-child activities, school readiness resouces, and other information is included in this site to support families in promoting school readiness.
- ReadyRosie - This is a FREE app for families with children from birth to 5 years old living in Frederick County. Sign up is easy and each week you will receive by text or email, brief videos modeling activities you can do with your child to encourage school readiness.