Prekindergarten Programs in Howard County
A variety of prekindergarten programs are available in Howard County. Some are available only to eligible families, while others are open to all families.
Free Programs for Eligible Families
The following prekindergarten programs are available at no cost for eligible families.
HCPSS Pre-K Program
HCPSS’ half- and full-day prekindergarten program is taught by certified staff and supports early learning and school readiness. This program is to eligible students in all attendance areas, but are only located at selected school sites. Students must be four years old on or before September 1 to be considered for fall enrollment and meet eligibility requirements.
Community Action Council of Howard County – Head Start
The Community Action Council of Howard County’s Early Childhood Education program offers free full-day, full-year accredited prekindergarten to eligible families at four locations in Howard County:
- Bauder Education Center at Long Reach
8775 Cloupleap Court, Columbia, MD 21045
- Dasher Green Head Start
6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045
- Ellicott City Education Center
8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043
- Old Cedar Lane Education Center
5451 Beaverkill Road, Columbia, MD 21044
Children must be three years old (or older) at the time of enrollment or be four by September 1 to enroll. 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.
For questions, call 410-313-6289.
Other Pre-k Programs
If your family does not meet the eligibility criteria to qualify for the HCPSS Pre-K or Head Start programs, there are other options to consider, which are listed below.
Learning Together Program
The Learning Together Program (LTP) enables all young children to play with each other, develop long-term friendships, and benefit from a diverse and stimulating environment. A limited number of openings are available for children without disabilities. Children are selected based upon screening information given on the application form and space availability. If necessary, a lottery process is conducted.
Participation in the Learning Together Program requires a monthly fee and families are required to provide their own transportation daily.
Approved Referral and Assistance Services
Families seeking additional prekindergarten options may consult the following resources:
- Maryland Family Network’s LOCATE: Child Care is a free, referral service with detailed information on all regulated child care in Maryland. Trained referral specialists help families identify child care based on personal preferences including program type, location, and cost. Visit their website or call 1-877-261-0060.
- LOCATE: Child Care Special Needs Service is a free service available to any family with a child (birth-21yrs) with a special need. Call 800.999.0120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Service is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Messages can be left during non-business hours and LOCATE staff will return the call as soon as possible. For more details, visit their website.
- The Child Care Scholarship (CCS) (formerly known as Child Care Subsidy) Program provides financial assistance with child care costs to eligible working families in Maryland. Apply for your child’s first scholarship today! Visit the CCS website for more information.
- The Howard County CARE (Child and Adolescent Resources and Education) Center’s CARE Line is a free information and referral service for people who have questions about children in Howard County. CARE Center staff work with families to identify their needs and help find solutions. For assistance, call 410-313-CARE (410-313-2273) or email email@example.com.
- Community Action Council’s Head Start program provides preschool to eligible 3 to 5 year old children. For more information, contact Head Start at 410-313-6443 or visit their website.