Durham PreK Application Process
Durham PreK enrolls children that are 4 years old by August 31 of the school year attending.
You will need to bring your child’s birth certificate and immunization records, proof of your current address and proof of one month’s income. More documentation may be required after the application appointment, and can be submitted at a later date.
Child citizenship does not determine eligibility. All 4 year old children in Durham County are eligible for all programs, regardless of citizenship status.
Families can choose to leave the citizenship question blank, but it will limit program options for that child to Durham Public Schools, Durham PreK and Head Start.
Families do not need to bring their child to the application appointment. However, you are welcome to do so. We have a play space in our application office, or they can join you while you complete the application. Many families will sign-up for a developmental screening during their application time. This screening will be at a later date and you will be required to bring your child.
The developmental screening is a play-based assessment conducted by an early childhood professional. Families can share about what you see at home with your child's development on a questionnaire completed during the screening. These screenings give us a snapshot of your child’s development and help us to identify children that may have a greater potential academic need. The results are used as a criteria component for some participating programs. Children that complete a developmental screening in the spring are eligible to be considered for all of the pre-K programs that use the universal application. Children who do not get screened in the spring may still be eligible for some programs and will receive their developmental screening once placed in a classroom.
Developmental screenings will be held at the Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center at 2107 Hillandale Rd. OR at the Jim & Carolyn Hunt Child Care Resource Center at 1201 S. Briggs Ave. Each appointment takes about one hour from check-in to check-out. You will be able to select and reserve a screening appointment (from the available dates and times) at your application appointment.
Durham PreK Site Information
Durham PreK sites are located around Durham County. You can view a map of all of the Durham PreK sites here. Families will be able to indicate their location preferences during the application appointment to be considered during placement.
You may find it helpful to contact the director of that facility for a tour before deciding on a placement offer. If for any reason you do not wish to accept placement at a particular location, you may ask to remain on the waiting list for other programs. If toward the end of the placement process unfilled seats remain in a preferred facility, you may be contacted about placement, though there is never a guarantee of a second offer or a preferred placement.
Durham PreK follows the Durham Public Schools Traditional Calendar. All sites operate on a 6.5 hour school day. Durham PreK sites typically start at 8:30 am and run until 3:00 pm or from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, but times may vary by site. Some sites may offer before and after care, and families can contact the center's director for more information.
Care outside the preschool day is called Wrap Around Care. Wrap Around Care is a separate service from preschool and is neither guaranteed at every facility nor free. Individual preschool providers will determine whether they have the staffing to host Wrap Around Care and for what hours. Families should ask the facility where they are placed whether Wrap Around Care is an option and, if so, make Wrap Around Care arrangements with that facility. Vouchers and Scholarships can sometimes help to cover Wrap Around Care costs for qualifying families, but eligibility for these services is not guaranteed or universally applicable to all types of preschool.
At this time, Durham PreK only serves 4-year-olds. However, please visit our Family Resources page for assistance in finding child care for your younger children.
All Durham PreK sites provide high-quality education that supports healthy social-emotional, physical and academic development. Children will learn positive social behaviors, emotional regulation and academic concepts through play, inquiry and other academic activities.
Durham PreK classrooms are 5-star rated classrooms, and all lead teachers are required to have or be working toward a Birth to Kindergarten License. These classrooms go through a thorough application process and a non-conflicting committee reviews them before selecting semifinalists. Semifinalists then receive an official Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS©) observation to evaluate the quality of teacher-child interactions, and a site visit to review application materials and plans for family engagement, dual language learners and children with unique needs.