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Prekindergarten Program

HCPSS offers high-quality half-day and full-day prekindergarten programs. Students must be four years old by September 1, 2022 to be considered for enrollment in the 2022-2023 school year. The comprehensive curriculum taught by certified staff supports early learning and school readiness and provides experiences that foster children’s academic, social, emotional and physical development.

Families of children who will be four years old by September 1, 2023 may apply for Pre-K beginning March 13, 2023. Pre-K applications for the 2023-2024 school year will be available at that time.

Is my child eligible for the program?

Students must be four years old by September 1.

The Maryland State Department of Education requires that the pre-K program be made available first to students who meet first priority criteria: income eligible, homelessness and foster care.

At this time, families that qualify for first priority criteria are placed first into pre-K and second priority applicants are placed on the waitlist. The Office of Early Childhood Programs will monitor countywide enrollment trends and space availability at pre-K sites to determine if the second priority criteria applicants can be considered for placement into pre-K.

How do I apply?

Acceptance decisions are based on meeting eligibility guidelines. Parent(s)/guardian(s) of prospective pre-K students must apply for Pre-K and should submit their Pre-K application to HCPSS Early Childhood Programs via email (, including verification of household members, household income, and income documentation. Applications may also be mailed to HCPSS Early Childhood Programs or submitted to the family’s local HCPSS elementary school.

*Please note: due to the volume of inquiries, please allow up to two weeks for applications to be processed.

Where will my child be enrolled?

HCPSS Pre-K programs are only located at selected school sites. A pre-K student will attend the school to which they are assigned. The student will then attend kindergarten at their regularly designated school regardless of where they attend Pre-K.

Talbott Springs Preschool Program

Launched in Summer 2021, this half-day (2.5 hour) program serves eligible three-year-old children who live in the Talbott Springs and Stevens Forest attendance areas. The program, which runs four days a week, is co-taught by certified staff, including both general and special educators.

Health Documentation

If approved for the program, parents of prospective prekindergarten students have to complete all health documentation requirements for their student.

This includes a physical, evidence of immunizations and evidence of blood lead testing. Students should have a lead test before enrolling in a prekindergarten program.

Fill out health forms and find out more about health services →

Learn how early childhood programs help build a solid foundation for future student learning opportunities.


  • Office of Early Childhood Programs, 410-313-5693

Other Pre-K Options

Community Action Council of Howard County

The Community Action Council of Howard County’s Early Childhood Education program offers free full-day, full-year accredited prekindergarten to eligible families in Howard County.

Enrollment requirements:

  • Children must three years old (or older) at the time of enrollment, or
  • Four by September 1 to enroll in prekindergarten
  • Families must qualify to enroll in this free program.

Priority is given to:

  • Children in foster care.
  • Families experiencing homelessness.
  • Families receiving SNAP, TCA, or SSI.
  • Children receiving special education services.

To apply:
Please apply via the Community Action Council of Howard County’s website. For questions, please call 410-313-6289.

See Also: Other Pre-K Options