The North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program is a free, high quality program designed to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-old children. The program is built on the National Education Goals Panel’s premise that to be successful academically in school, children need to be prepared in all five of the developmental domains that are critical to children’s overall well-being and success in reading and math as they enter school. NC licensed teachers provide developmentally appropriate play-based instruction to help children strengthen and learn a variety of skills.
Numerous studies have shown that students who participate in a high quality pre-kindergarten program are more likely to succeed in grades K-12 and throughout their lives. 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: www.ConsciousDiscipline.com and csefel.vanderbilt.edu. These tools can help you learn to support your young children’s behavior at home as well.
NC PRE-K FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is eligible to attend NC Pre-K? Children who are four years old by August 31 of the school year. If you live outside Union County, click here to find the program in your area: http://ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us/pdf_forms/NCPre-K_CountyContractorDirectory.pdf.
Is NC Pre-K free? Yes, NC Pre-K is free for families with household income of less than 75% of the State Median Income. If over income, children with documented needs for support (examples include support for speech services or IEP) may be eligible for placement if space is available after income eligible children are placed. Children with parent(s) on active military duty are eligible regardless of income.
How do I apply for NC Pre-K? See above for printable forms or visit our office at 2661 W. Roosevelt Blvd. Suite A; Monroe NC 28110 for an application. Complete the application fully and supply copies of all the documents listed on the application. Please make sure to complete all information, sign and date the application. Our NC Pre-K partner sites (listed below) have applications as well.
What documents are required for proof of income? Documents that provide the best idea of your current income. Provide copies of four recent paychecks, 2020 tax returns or W-2 forms. If you receive alimony or child support, provide copies of how much you receive. For families who work seasonal jobs and 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 self-employed, provide a copy of your tax returns including a schedule C, F, and/or 1099 forms. Mark through all social security numbers on all documents.
What documents are required for proof of residency? Recent utility bills, phone bills, the first page of your current lease agreement, car registration, driver’s license or mail with your name/address printed on the document. Your child’s teacher will conduct a home visit when school begins.
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 15 so your child can start school on time. You may provide a copy of a recent physical dated within one year of your child’s first school day. Give health paperwork to your child’s teacher or site director. If contacted by NC Pre-K staff for missing documents, please provide paperwork quickly so your child’s application can be processed. The Alliance for Children places students into participating NC Pre-K sites.
• 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.
• 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 within a month after application.
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. Completing your application early will help us to best serve your student for NC Pre-K and also helps to place your child at a site that is more convenient for your family. Remember there are a maximum of eighteen students in each class per state requirements and a limited number of classrooms at each site.
When will I know my eligible child’s placement for NC Pre-K? Parents will be notified of site placement by mid-August. School begins in late August closely following the Union County Public Schools calendars. Be sure to print your current email address and phone numbers clearly on the application for placement notification.
Will my child attend NC Pre-K at a school or childcare site? The Union County NC Pre-K program partners with child care sites and Union County Public Schools including:
A+ Childcare and Learning Center, 109 Camelia Drive, Monroe; Childcare Network (Hilltop), 780 Sutton Place, Monroe; Childtime, 1714 N. Charlotte Ave., Monroe; Childtime, 120 Business Park Dr., Indian Trail; Kids R Kids, 5549 Potter Rd., Indian Trail; Oakboro Kid’s Club, 206 N. Main St., Oakboro; Weekday Children’s Ministries, 801 S. Hayne St., Monroe and Wingate Baptist Church Childcare, 108 E. Elm St., Wingate.
Participating UCPS schools include the Walter Bickett Education Center, 501 Lancaster Ave., Monroe; Indian Trail Elementary, 200 Education Rd., Indian Trail and Waxhaw Elementary, 1101 Old Providence Rd., Waxhaw. Whether in a school or childcare site, all staff and classrooms are required to meet NC Pre-K standards for quality. Children are placed at sites by the Alliance for Children as close as possible to their homes. There is a space on the application to request a site. Placement requests are not guaranteed as classrooms are limited to eighteen students.
My older children attend school per UCPS attendance lines. Why is my child placed at another school for NC Pre-K? Funding for the NC Pre-K program is provided through the Alliance for Children in Union County. The non-profit agency subcontracts NC Pre-K services with elementary schools and child care sites having licensed four or five-star state childcare classrooms (see site list above). 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 NC Pre-K classes from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm. Hours for the Walter Bickett Education Center are 7:00 am to 1:30 pm. Keep in mind that 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 is expected so your child will get the full educational benefit of NC Pre-K.
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 your address is within Benton Heights lines: https://web01.edulogweb.com/Union/webquery/. 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.
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. You must contact DSS at 704-296-4339 to apply for a childcare voucher) as soon as possible.
How should my child dress for NC Pre-K? Please dress your child in weather appropriate clothing with closed toed shoes. Make sure your child can move comfortably in clothing that may get dirty or “painted” in the art center. Children learn through play in NC Pre-K and will enjoy outside learning every day.
Will I need to purchase any supplies? Provide a small backpack or bag to carry papers and personal belongings to and from school. Your child will need a 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 academic and social skills in preparation for Kindergarten. In addition to pre-literacy and academic skills, your child will learn to follow directions, persist at challenging activities, play and 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, and lifestyle. 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.
Homework Reading twenty to thirty minutes each night with your child is your homework assignment. 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. Visit your local library for a library card, and ask the children’s librarian for age appropriate books that match your child’s interests. http://www.union.lib.nc.us/
Are there other options for Pre-K in Union County? Yes, UCPS offers Title 1 Pre-K classes for four year old students at Title 1 Elementary Schools in Union County including: Benton Heights Elementary, East Elementary, Marshville Elementary, Rock Rest Elementary, Rocky River Elementary, Sardis Elementary, Union Elementary, Walter Bickett Elementary (MLK Blvd.) and Wingate Elementary.
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: www.ConsciousDiscipline.com. These tools can help you learn to support your young children’s behavior at home as well.
Why is it important for you to help your child have the experience of the NC Pre-K program? Watch this video: Kate Gallagher – Frank Porter Graham Institute
Watch the First Five Years Fund video: Early Learning Matters.
Why are self-regulation skills important? Read this study! http://research.msu.edu/many-kindergartners-struggle-with-self-regulation/
~Ideas to have fun and help support your child’s behavior, learning and development:
https://www.youtube.com/user/joinvroom (check out the Daily Vroom app!)
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 Pre-Kindergarten Office