NC Pre-Kindergarten Program – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does NC Pre-K cost?

Nothing at all! NC Pre-K is a free program that serves children for a full school day. However, if you need after school care for your child, that care would be separate from NC Pre-K and you would have to provide payment for that.

Who provides NC Pre-K?

In Nash and Edgecombe counties, NC Pre-K classrooms can be found in both public school systems, in select child care centers, and in select Head Start locations. A detailed list can be found at

My child care center says they have Pre-K but they aren’t on your list. How does that work?

Although many programs may have a class that they refer to as a “Pre-K” class, only approved sites are able to receive funding to provide the free NC Pre-K program. Approved NC Pre-K sites have to follow specific state guidelines in relation to class size, teacher education, and the curriculum they use.

How do I apply for NC Pre-K?

We encourage parents to apply at the site they wish to attend, but you can apply at Down East Partnership for Children if you are not able to go to the site. There is an application that you must fill out and submit along with a copy of your child’s birth certificate and documentation of your income (30 days of pay stubs, child support, alimony payments, workman’s compensation, etc.). Applications are available at the sites, at Down East Partnership for Children, and online at

Who is eligible for NC Pre-K?

Children who turn 4 years old ON or BEFORE August 31st of the school year and who are deemed “at-risk”. The primary risk-factor is income, but children with developmental/educational needs, some children with chronic health conditions, children with limited English proficiency, and children of military families may also be considered for the program.

Do I have to wait until my child turns four years old to apply for NC Pre-K?

No. If your child will turn four ON or BEFORE August 31st of the school year they are age-eligible for the program even if they are still three years old when you submit the application. 

When should I apply for NC Pre-K?

NC Pre-K registration usually begins in February. The public school systems host mass registration sessions at different schools in the county so be on the lookout for flyers with registration dates or call your local school system for more information. If you are applying to local child care centers or head start, you can contact them directly to find out about their application process.

When will I know if my child has been accepted into NC Pre-K?

Applications are processed and children are screened throughout the spring and summer. Placements are determined in the late summer and parents are usually notified early to mid-August. This timeline can vary depending on the number of applications that have to be processed.

What happens if my child doesn’t get a spot in NC Pre-K?

If your child is NC Pre-K eligible but does not get picked up for a spot in an NC Pre-K classroom, his or her name will go onto a waiting list. Throughout the school year, if spots become available, NC Pre-K sites will pull additional children from that waiting list.

Do NC Pre-K sites provide transportation?

Not all NC Pre-K sites provide transportation. You will need to contact the site directly to find out if they provide transportation.

Who do I call if I have questions about NC Pre-K?

You can contact an NC Pre-K site directly or you can call Down East Partnership for Children at (252) 985-4300.