Applying for FCPS public prekindergarten program, regardless of the time of year, DOES NOT automatically guarantee enrollment. Every attempt is made to provide space for as many children as possible, but because of funding restrictions, spaces are limited. In order for your application to be considered, all appropriate information must be completed and accompanied by ALL required documentation. Incomplete applications will not be processed and may affect your child’s placement.

The FCPS Pre-Kindergarten program is a state-funded program for four-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.

Inclusive Pre-Kindergarten

Frederick County Public Schools offers unique pre-kindergarten educational program. The  Inclusive Pre-K program is in addition to, and different from our regular pre-kindergarten class. These classes are available at 15 FCPS locations and educate all students using pre-academic standards with an emphasis on social emotional skills and communication. Participation in this program is based on a random peer lottery.

Inclusive Pre-K Classrooms are available for 3 and 4-year old students who will attend ½ day sessions. Students must be 3 or 4 by September 1st.  Applying for a student to participate as a peer in this program does not guarantee enrollment and students must reapply every year. Parents must provide transportation to and from school and may apply to any location, regardless of home school location. The application process is now open and students will be selected via a lottery process. All applications must be submitted to Lauren Perry for consideration for the peer lottery.

Pre-Kindergarten Application Process

FCPS has moved to an online enrollment secured portal to begin the pre-registration process for PK students:

To enroll your student for NEXT school year starting August 2021: click here for English or click here for Spanish.

If you are unable to enroll your student using our online portal, you may download an official FCPS enrollment form and return to your student’s school. Enrollment Form Template: English | Spanish.

When the home school or paired school (See Paired School List) receives your online application, the school enrollment secretary will contact you for any additional information and/or documentation needed to process your application. Note: Income documentation is still required to be considered for Automatic Placement into Pre-K. Additional information will also be required to qualify for High Priority status and Low Priority status.

If you prefer to complete a paper FCPS Enrollment Form and the PK Application, you can download the documents here or contact the home or paired school. Submit paperwork directly to the home or paired school by mail, email or fax.

Household Income Verification - To Be Considered for Automatic Placement

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

Priority Level is determined by the home school or paired school.

Automatically Accepted – Free and Reduced-Price Meal (FARM) income guidelines, 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

Other Priority

Note: At this time, families that qualify for automatic placement are placed first into Pre-K, all other priority levels are on the waitlist until mid-August. At that time, ECE Office will review enrollment and space availability to see if the next priority level (High Priority) can be considered for placement into Pre-K.

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 for details.

Pre-Kindergarten Out of District Requests

  • Pre-kindergarten Out of District Form: English / Spanish
  • Complete the Pre-K Out of District Form and email to or mail to: Office of Early Childhood, 191 S East Street, 3rd Floor, Frederick, MD 21701.
  • Office of Early Childhood will contact the home school or paired school to verify a Pre-k application was received and to verify the priority level.
  • 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.


ECE logo


Sandy Truax
Administrative Assistant

(240) 236-8835

Sheila Kahler
ECE Grant Manager

(301) 696-6864
Fax 301-644-4139

Christy Donnelly
Teacher Specialist for Early Childhood Education

(301) 644-5253

Kelly Robbins
Teacher Specialist for Early Childhood Education

(301) 644-5331

Leslie Frei
Supervisor of Early Childhood Education and Judy Centers

(301) 696-6914

Kathleen Allen
Coordinator for Early Childhood Education & Judy Centers
(301) 696-6809