Family FAQs

Durham PreK Application Process

How old does my child need to be to enroll in Durham PreK?

Durham PreK enrolls children that are 4 years old by August 31 of the school year attending.

How do I start an application?

You can apply online for the 2020-2021 school year in English or in Spanish or download the paper application here. To receive assistance in completing the application, schedule a virtual application appointment by leaving a message at 1-833-PREK-EDU

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, we encourage families to apply by May 15th to be considered for all programs. Families are still able to submit an application after the May 15th deadline, but can only be considered for Durham PreK and NC Pre-K private sites, and Head Start classrooms.

An application appointment is not an interview. During your virtual appointment, an application counselor will help complete your application, provide information on how to submit your documents and answer any additional questions. You can find more information on applying for Durham PreK on our Enrollment page

Download our preschool flyer in English or Spanish.

What do I need to submit to complete my online application?

(If you do not have an income to report, please be sure to review the parent packet linked above for copies of the Statement of No Income form to be included with the rest of your required documents.)


All families will need to submit the child’s birth certificate, proof of current address (current lease, mortgage statement or utility bill) and proof of one month’s income (one month’s paystubs or letter from employer if paystubs are not available).

The following documents are also considered part of your monthly income, and you will need to provide documentation of any or all that apply to your family:

  • Child support (for any child in your household)
  • Pension
  • Disability
  • Alimony payments
  • Commissioned Sales
  • Scholarships or grants
  • Proof of parent enrollment in school
  • Financial assistance
  • W-2 (self-employed) - required to be considered for a Head Start classroom

We understand not every family will have access to all of these documents. If you,

  • are residing with a family member
  • do not currently have an income
  • are self-employed and paid in cash

our application counselors will help you fill out alternate forms needed to complete the application.

Some families may be asked to provide additional information. Examples include:

  • Military families – will need to provide one or all of the following documents, if applicable:
    • Valid military I.D.
    • Separation forms
    • Active Duty income paystubs
    • Proof of Deployment (current or future)
  • Children with additional services – will need to provide one or both of the following documents, if applicable:
    • Documentation of a chronic health condition
    • Copy of Private Service Plan

Upon receiving a placement offer, families will nee to submit their child's immunization records as part of the enrollment process.

Do I have to provide my child's citizenship status to apply?

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.

Do I need to bring my child to fill out the application?

In-person application appointments are not currently being scheduled due to COVID-19. Families can call 1-833-773-5338 to schedule a virtual appointment with a bilingual Pre-K Application Counselor.

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.

What are the developmental screenings?
All in-person Pre-K screenings for the Universal Application have been cancelled until further notice due to COVID-19.  If you missed your original appointment or it was cancelled, then a pre-K counselor or screener will reach out to you by phone to complete the family questionnaire portion of the screening.  New applicants will receive a call within a couple of weeks of submitting the application online, by phone or by mail based on the time preference indicated in your online application.
Calls will likely show up as private because staff are working remotely and are using their personal phones.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.
All children who have not yet completed their in-person developmental screening will be screened within 45 days of enrollment in their pre-K program.
For questions about the online application, families can email or call 1-833-PREK-EDU (1-833-773-5338).  For questions about screenings, families can email

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.

How long are the developmental screenings and where do they take place?

Due to COVID-19 school closures, developmental screenings have been postponed. Families will still be considered for the 2020-2021 school year and will be notified when developmental screenings have been rescheduled.

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

Where are the Durham PreK sites?

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.

What if my child is placed in a facility that was not my preference?

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.

What are the hours for Durham PreK?

Most Durham PreK classrooms follow the Durham Public Schools Traditional Calendar, with the exception of Holt Elementary and Pearsontown Elementary which operate on the Durham Public Schools Year Round Calendar. Both calendars are available under Family Resources.  

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. 

Do you offer before and after school care?

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.

Click here for the Before and After School Care Information Packet (en español) to view the hours and fees at each of the Durham PreK, NC Pre-K and Head Start sites. During the regularly scheduled school years, Durham Public Schools does not offer after school care, with the exception of The Whitted School. However, due to COVID-19, The Whitted School is also not offering Before or After Care.

Does Durham PreK offer child care for my younger children?

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.

What will my child do at school in a Durham PreK site?

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.

How do Durham PreK programs differ from typical preschools?

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.