What is NC Pre-K?
The NC Pre-K Program is a high-quality pre-kindergarten program that serves children who are at risk and prepares them for success in school. Pre-kindergarten is a research-proven strategy for school readiness.
Children served by NC Pre-K attend a full school day, full school year program that meets high-quality state standards. The program is community based. It is integrated with other early childhood programs in the community and administered at the county or regional level. Children participating in NC Pre-K may be served in classrooms in the public schools, licensed child care centers or Head Start programs.
The NC Pre-K program is especially beneficial for those children most at risk of school failure. According to independent evaluation findings by the FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, children served by NC Pre-K exhibit substantial growth in key areas including language, literacy, math and social skills.
North Carolina is one of the top two states nationally for state pre-kindergarten quality standards, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, including standards such as teacher education and training, class size, staff-child ratio, and early learning standards. Children's experiences in NC Pre-K are rooted in North Carolina's early learning standards for preschoolers, called Foundations. These standards incorporate the five domains of development and learning fundamental to school readiness: approaches to learning, emotional and social development, health and physical development, language development and communication, and cognitive development. NC Pre-K teachers engage children in active learning with a focus on each domain.
Children in NC Pre-K:
- Learn about letters, colors, shapes and numbers
- Learn to develop positive relationships with peers and teachers
- Listen to stories and learn about books
- Explore math, science, art and music
- Expand language skills
- Develop a positive sense of self and an enthusiasm for learning
- Explore and play outside daily
NC Pre-K staff value the diversity of children and their families and are responsive to the needs of individual children.
To be eligible a child must be four years old on or before August 31st of the program year and family Income must fall at or below 75% of the State Median Income. Children with at eligibility factors for poor school outcomes may also be eligible. The eligibility factors to fall under these criteria are to include low income, limited English proficiency, identified disability, chronic health condition, developmental or educational need and children of Active Duty military parents. If Income exceeds the 75%, the child may be eligible if they fall under at least one of the eligibility factors. Priority is given to eligible children who have not been served in any other preschool or child care program. Documentation will be needed to support each one of the eligibility requirements.