Early Learning

All elementary schools and education campuses in DCPS offer pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. Most elementary schools also offer preschool for 3-year-olds.

Early childhood programs in DCPS are designed to meet the full range of developmental needs of young children, and help children grow and thrive in their academic careers.

The educational program encourages teachers to observe children’s progress and  design learning plans that will support children’s literacy, language and math skills while promoting curiosity and interest in the world around them.

School Calendar

DCPS preschool and pre-kindergarten programs operate on the regular school system calendar (except for Early Childhood Transition Week) for the length of a typical school day, and are free for residents of the District of Columbia. During the week, children start school in small groups according to last name to help children make the transition from home to school. Both preschool and pre-kindergarten children participate in transition week, regardless of previous school experience. More detailed schedules are mailed home to families over the summer.

School Health and Dental Forms

All DCPS students are required to submit the Universal Health Certificate and Oral Health Assessment forms that are included in the enrollment packet. To be valid, the Universal Health Certificate and Oral Health Assessment must:

  • Have a date of exam that is current within 365 days of the child’s first day of school.
  • Each form must be completed and signed by the child’s health provider (for the UHC) or dental provider (for the OHA).
  • Be signed by the parent/guardian.

Health and dental forms are only valid for one year after the child’s exam date. New forms should be submitted every year after the child’s regular health and dental check-up. Please know that the Universal Health Certificate is a two-page form. The first page documents the child’s most recent physical.  The second page lists all the immunizations the child has received. The child should be up-to-date on their immunizations at time of entry.  Both pages are needed for the form to be complete. Please be sure to provide these updated exam forms to your school.

Also, many children require a special diet or medication during the school day. If either or both apply to your child be sure to complete the Students With Dietary Needs Form and/or the Medication and Treatment Authorization Form and provide the form(s) to your school no later than your child’s first day of school.

DC Kindergarten Readiness Standards

All DCPS preschool and pre-kindergarten programs implement a comprehensive curriculum that meets the full range of children’s developmental needs and is aligned to the District of Columbia Kindergarten Readiness Standards. Teachers are encouraged to individualize instructional practices based on the interests and skill levels of each child. Early Childhood Education is part of the larger DCPS Academic Plan released in summer 2011.