North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten is a free, high-quality state program designed to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-old children. Studies show that children who participate in a high-quality pre-kindergarten program are more likely to succeed in grades K-12 and throughout their lives.

In NC Pre-Kindergarten, NC licensed teachers provide developmentally appropriate instruction to help children learn and strengthen a variety of skills in a classroom environment.


For NC Pre-K, child must be four years old on August 31 of the school year.

Family’s pre-tax income must be less than 75% of State Median Income based on the family size shown in the table below.

For families over 75% of the state median income, a child may be eligible if one of these factors applies:

  • Child’s family usually speaks another language at home (verified by parent on the application form).
  • Child has identified disability (family will provide documentation from the child’s doctor with the application packet),
  • Child has a chronic health condition (family will provide documentation from the child’s doctor with the application packet).
  • Identified developmental or educational need (family will provide IEP or service support plan from the provider).*
  • Child with a parent who is active-duty military or disabled from military service are eligible regardless of income (military documentation (LES) is required with application packet).

Children who meet the age and income requirement are given the priority for placement.

*For support and questions about assessment for speech and other concerns, call the UCPS Preschool Assessment Center at 704-282-6259 for information. Assessment is available for children ages three to five years old.


Here are some resources to make copies of documents for the application packets. These resources charge a small fee and most are open seven days a week: UPS Stores, FedEx stores, Kinkos, Office Max/Depot,  Library card holders – Union County Libraries.

Apply for 2024-2025

For children who are 4 on or before August 31, 2024, apply using our online preschool application or by downloading and printing the PDF of the application:

Apply Online


Or Print the Application

Required Health Forms

Prepare Now! Health forms listed below must be given to your child’s school:

  • Child’s current shot records (due upon enrollment)
  • To print Health and Dental Assessment Form click on link below (State law requires this form to be completed)
  • Doctor completed health assessment (law requires within 30 days of enrollment)
  • Dentist or doctor completed dental screening (law requires within 30 days of enrollment)


Download the Health and Dental Assessment form


For help finding a Medical Home or for information on free or low-cost children’s health insurance, call the N.C. Family Health Resource Line at:  1-800-367-2229.

Parents who live with extended family members: for proof of residency, complete the certification of residency form, have it notarized, and return it with the child’s application packet. Certification of Residence

Before school, after school and care outside of NC Pre-K hours is arranged and paid for by the child’s parents.  To find out if your family qualifies for childcare subsidy (Childcare Voucher) to help pay for care outside of the NC Pre-K day, call Union County Division of Social Services at 704-296-4339 as soon as possible.


Who is eligible to attend NC Pre-K?

Children who are four years old by August 31 of the school year with families who meet income eligibility.

If over income, children with documented support needs (include support plan or IEP), children who live in families who speak a language other than English at home, and children with a parent who is actively serving or receiving military disability may be placed after income eligible children are placed. The complete packet and supporting documents are required.

If you live outside Union County, click here to find the program in your area:

Is NC Pre-K free?

Yes, eligible children attend during NC Pre-K hours at no charge to the family. (If parents work and need care outside of the NC Pre-K Day, families pay the site for this care.)

How do I apply for NC Pre-K? 

Print an application from this website or visit our office at 2661 W. Roosevelt Blvd. Suite A; Monroe NC 28110 for an application form.

  • Complete the application fully, sign and date.
  • Supply copies of all the documents listed at the top of the application form.
  • Return copies of the entire packet to the Alliance for Children office for processing. (Check carefully. Incomplete packets are not processed for placement.)
What documents are required for proof of income?

Copies of documents that provide the best idea of your current income.

Options include:

  • Copies of a month’s worth of recent, consecutive paychecks for parents/stepparents/legal guardians or legal custodians in the home.
  • If worked at the same job for all of 2022, copies of 2022 tax returns or W-2 forms (mark through social security numbers)
  • Copies of alimony documentation
  • Copies of child support documentation
  • Copies of disability payments (including military disability paperwork)
  • Copy of unemployment compensation letter

For families who only receive cash compensation, visit our office for a form or provide a signed, dated statement of how many hours you work each week and the rate of pay. Include your employer’s name and number for verification.

If a parent does not work and receives no income, the parent can sign, date, and initial the second page of the application to verify their income status.

What documents are required for proof of residency?

Copies of two documents with a parent’s name and the current address can include:

  • Recent utility bills
  • Recent phone bills
  • Current lease agreement or mortgage statement with parent’s name and family’s current address
  • Car registration or driver’s license with parent’s name and current address
  • Copies of home or car insurance with parent’s name and current address

Your child’s teacher will conduct a home visit when school begins at the address you provide. If you plan to move, please indicate this information with your application and the date you will move.

Parents who live with extended family members: for proof of residency, complete the certification of residency form, have it notarized, and return it with the child’s application packet. Certification of Residence

What happens after I turn in the complete application and supporting documents?

The Alliance for Children’s NC Pre-K staff will process the application for eligibility. If your child is four by August 31 and your family meets income eligibility, it is likely that your child will be placed in NC Pre-K (subject to state funding).

Make a doctor appointment to update your child’s shots and have Medical/Dental Reports (forms in the application pack) completed before August 1 so your child can start school on time. You may provide a copy of a recent physical and dental screening dated within one year of your child’s first school day. Give doctor completed health paperwork to your child’s teacher or site director.

  • If your child is eligible for NC Pre-K, you will receive a call or email from your child’s teacher or site director in August. Please check voice mail and email messages.
  • If your child is placed, your child’s teacher will call you in late August to set up a home visit and Beginner’s Day for your child.
  • If your child is placed at Walter Bickett Education Center, you may receive a letter in the mail with paperwork to complete and return to WBEC.
  • If your child is not eligible (child is not four years old by August 31 and family is not income eligible) you will be notified by phone or email.
If classes don’t start until August, why should I turn in my application early?
  • To plan enough classrooms and hire the most qualified teachers, we need to know how many students we will have in school.
  • Applying now with a complete application packet helps the NC Pre-K office to place your child at a site that is more convenient for your family.
  • Earlier placement allows the site to connect with you, provide you with site paperwork to complete and return – for an easier August!
  • There are a maximum of eighteen students in each class. If classrooms meet the maximum size, families are offered an alternative site that may not be as convenient.
When do NC Pre-K students start school?

NC Pre-K closely follows the UCPS calendar, but with a slower beginning pace to help children transition into the program. Your child’s teacher will contact your family by phone (check your voice mails please) to set up a home (inside or sidewalk) visit and two beginner’s days for small groups in the first days of school.

Will my child attend NC Pre-K at a school or childcare site?

Whether in a school or childcare site, all staff and classrooms are required to meet NC Pre-K state standards for quality. Children are placed at sites by the Alliance for Children as close as possible to their homes. Placement requests are not guaranteed as classrooms are limited to eighteen students. See the application forms for site information.

My older children attend school per UCPS attendance lines. Why is my child placed at another school for NC Pre-K?

NC Pre-K program funding is provided through the Alliance for Children in Union County. The non-profit agency subcontracts local NC Pre-K services with elementary schools and childcare sites with NC licensed four or five-star childcare classrooms. These sites agree to meet NC Pre-K quality standards. Your child may be placed for NC Pre-K at a different site than his or her siblings, but for kindergarten your student will attend classes following UCPS attendance lines.

What are NC Pre-K hours?

Most sites operate from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Hours for the Walter Bickett Education Center are 7:00 am to 1:30 pm.  Your child will not attend NC Pre-K on school workdays, holidays, and school breaks closely following the UCPS school calendars.  On-time, regular attendance helps your child get the full, long-lasting positive benefits of participation in NC Pre-K and helps your child understand the importance of education.

Is there a bus? 

NC Pre-K students placed at Walter Bickett Education Center are eligible for transportation if they reside within the Benton Heights Elementary attendance lines.  Enter your address here to see if you are within Benton Heights lines:

If you are eligible for transportation, please write WBEC Transportation on the top of your application.  You must have an adult at your home for pick up and drop off each day.  The site will give you forms to complete so they can arrange bus transportation for your child.

For other sites, parents are responsible for dropping off and picking up students each day for NC Pre-K classes at childcare OR school sites.

For other sites, parents are responsible for dropping off and picking up students each day for NC Pre-K classes at childcare OR school sites.  If you know another family with a child who plans to attend NC Pre-K and you arrange a carpool, please note this on both children’s application forms and turn in the applications at the same time.

What if I need before or after school care for my child?

Working parents may be eligible for childcare subsidy to help with the cost of childcare outside of the NC Pre-K Day. Contact DSS at 704-296-4339 to apply for an income based childcare voucher as soon as possible.

How should my child dress for NC Pre-K?

Dress your child in weather appropriate, comfortable clothing with closed toed shoes.  “Best” clothing is discouraged as children may get dirty outdoors or “painted” in the art center.  Children learn through play in NC Pre-K!

Will I need to purchase any supplies?

Provide a backpack or bag to carry papers and personal belongings to and from school. Your child will need a light blanket and crib sized sheet for rest time. If possible, provide a change of seasonally appropriate clothes in case your child needs to change clothes during the day.

Why should I place my child in NC Pre-K?

Participating in NC Pre-K will help your child strengthen a variety of skills in preparation for kindergarten.  In addition to pre-literacy and pre-academic skills, your child will learn to follow directions, persist at challenging activities, interact with other students and express positive feelings about themselves and confidence in what they can accomplish.

Family Involvement

One of the first calls you receive from your child’s teacher is to set up a home visit. This helps the child meet the teacher in your home environment and the teachers to get to know your family, pets, etc.  Family/teacher conferences are scheduled during the year, and you will be invited to participate in family events hosted at your child’s NC Pre-K site.  Family participation and open, honest communication with your teachers is vital to the success of your child’s NC Pre-K experience.


Your homework is reading twenty to thirty minutes each night with your child.  It is one of the best ways to help your child build vocabulary and strengthen language skills. Reading nightly is a great habit that will serve your child well in later years and is a good opportunity to have one on one time with your child.  If you have older children, encourage them to read with the younger children. Visit your local library for a library card and ask the children’s librarian for age-appropriate books that match your child’s interests.


Parent Resources:

Union County NC Pre-K teachers use Conscious Discipline®  and Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning to help children develop their social, emotional and self-regulation skills. There are many free tools for parents on these websites: These tools can help you learn to support your young children’s behavior at home as well.

Watch the First Five Years Fund video: Early Learning Matters.

Resources if you have concerns about your child’s development:

Easter Seals offers a free, comprehensive, and confidential online screening tool to help guide and keep track of your child’s growth and development during these first five years. You can use this tool when your child is at least 4-weeks- old through your child’s fifth birthday. Depending on your child’s age, you may need some props – like a ball, safety scissors or a toy. The sooner you address a developmental delay or special need, the better long-term success you can expect for your child’s overall well-being. Early intervention is key.

*For the best experience, please take the screening on a desktop or laptop computer.

In addition to NC Pre-K, the Alliance for Children offers programs that support the education and well-being of children ages birth through five years old. See the programs tab on this website to learn more.

For more information about NC Pre-K, contact Suzanne Walters at 704-226-1407 or 704-238-8917.


Alliance for Children and Smart Start Logos Combinded
Alliance for Children North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Office

Mailing Address:  PO Box 988; Monroe, NC  28111-0988

Street Address: 2661 W. Roosevelt Blvd. Monroe, NC  28110-8506

Phone: 704-226-1407, ext. 30 / Español: ext. 23


Office Hours:  

Assistance is available by phone or e-mail during these hours:

Monday – Thursday: 8:00am–5:00pm; (Closed: 12:00pm-1:00pm)
Friday: 8:00am-3:00pm (Closed: 12:00pm-1:00pm)

Applications welcomed: A drop slot is located at the Alliance for Children front door on the right side.