NC Pre-K North Carolina Prekindergarten Program What is NC Pre-K?
The NC Pre-K Program is designed to provide high-quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-old children. The NC Pre-K Program Requirements are built on the National Education Goals Panel’s premise that to be successful academically in school, children need to be prepared in all five of the developmental domains that are critical to children’s overall well-being and success in reading and math as they enter school:
The NC Pre-K Program Requirements are designed to ensure that a high-quality pre-kindergarten classroom experience is provided for eligible four-year-old children in each local NC Pre-K Program and that, to the extent possible, uniformity exists across the state. Programs are also required to meet the NC Child Care Rules. North Carolina is one of four states with a Pre-K program that meets all 10 National Institute of Early Education Research Benchmarks (NIEER). Benchmarks include comprehensive Early Learning Standards; staff meet education/licensure requirements, professional development; 1:9 staff/child ratio; developmental screens and referral; evidence-based curriculum and formative assessments; monitoring and nutritional requirements.
Who do I contact for information about the NC Pre-K Program?
The NC Pre-K Program is administered by the NC Department of Health and Human Services under the Division of Child Development and Early Education, Early Education Unit.
The NC Pre-K Program is designed to provide high-quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-old children. NC Pre-K programs must meet the NC Child Care Rules, including specific rules for administrators and teachers, the NC Pre-K Program Requirements and other state-level policy. The NC Pre-K Program is administered at the county or regional level by Local Education Agencies, Smart Start Agencies, or Community Action Agencies and operated in 4- and 5-star-rated classrooms in public schools, child care centers and Head Start programs. Lead Teachers in these classrooms must hold or be working toward a North Carolina Birth-through-Kindergarten or Preschool Add-on Standard Professional II license.
How do I know if my child is eligible to participate in NC Pre-K?
The child must be four-years old on or before August 31st of the program year. A child that meets the age requirement is eligible for NC Pre-K if the child is from a family whose gross income is at or below 75% of the State Median Income (SMI). Children of certain military families are also eligible without regard to income. In addition, up to 20% of age eligible children enrolled may have family incomes in excess of 75% SMI if they have documented risk factors in specific categories including developmental disability, Limited English Proficiency, educational need, or chronic health condition.
Although a child may meet one or more eligibility factors, placement is not guaranteed in an NC Pre-K classroom. Waiting lists exist in counties when funding is not sufficient to serve all eligible children. Local NC Pre-K contract administrators can provide specific information about the enrollment process, available programs that meet NC Pre-K Program Requirements, and other specific information related to participation in NC Pre-K in your county, as well as other options for early childhood education services (e.g., Child Care Subsidy, Child Care Resource and Referral, Head Start, Preschool Exceptional Children, Smart Start, Title I Preschool).
Where can I find results of the Statewide Evaluation of the NC Pre‐Kindergarten?
Results from the 2013-2014 NC Pre-K Evaluation Study indicate children enrolled in the NC Pre-K Program made significant gains from pre-k through kindergarten across all domains of learning. Children showed gains in language and literacy skills (receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, letter-word identification, phonological awareness), math skills (math problem-solving, counting), general knowledge (basic self-knowledge), and behavior skills (social skills). Read more…
NC Pre-K Contact Information
NC Pre-KAPP System
NC Pre-KPlan System
NC Pre-KKids System
NC Pre-K Monitoring Tools
NC Pre-K Forms
2201 Mail Service Center | Raleigh, NC 27699-2201