First, check the age requirements. Your child must be at least 3 or 4 years old by September 1 to enroll in a public school pre-k program. The age depends on your local pre-k program. Some school districts have pre-k for both 3- and 4-year-old children; some districts have pre-k only for 4-year-olds. Some districts are not required to offer a pre-k program.
Second, check the other requirements. To be eligible, a child must meet one or more:
- Unable to speak or understand English
- Eligible for the national free or reduced-price lunch program (educationally disadvantaged)
- Have a parent or guardian on active duty in the United States armed forces, Texas state military forces, or the reserves
- Have a parent or guardian who was injured or killed while on active duty in the United States armed forces, Texas state military forces, or the reserves
- Currently be in foster care or was previously in foster care
Third, contact your local school district to find out what they offer. Some school districts in Texas offer half-day pre-k and some districts offer full-day pre-k. To find your local school district, you can call 211, do an online search, or use Texas Education Agency’s school district locator.
Pre-k in public schools is offered at no cost for eligible children. Some private preschools have classes for 4-year-olds called pre-k—these are NOT the same as a public school pre-k program. Private pre-k is fee-based.
See the Top 10 most frequently asked questions about prekindergarten from the Texas Education Agency.
Not sold on pre-k? Here's some information about the benefits of prekindergarten.