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Military Families - Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment


The District provides free high quality pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education services in its public schools, public charter schools, and publicly-funded community-based organizations (CBOs) for 3- to 5-year-old children who reside in the District.

Where can my child attend free, high-quality pre-K?

How old must my child be to enroll in pre-K?

  • To enroll in pre-K 3: A child must be 3 years old by September 30 of the school year for which they are enrolling.
  • Note: Head Start and many private pre-K programs are exceptions. Upon turning 3, children may enroll in Head Start and many private pre-K programs.
  • To enroll in pre-K 4: A child must be 4 years old by September 30 of the school year for which they are enrolling.
  • Students coming from states where they must have reached the age of 3 or 4 years on or before a date later than September 30 may also enroll in pre-K throughout the District per the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. See profiles and comparisons of DCPS and public charter schools.
  • Students with special needs: Students that have been determined eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act may be enrolled in their right-to-attend school within DCPS when the child turns 3, regardless of when that happens during the school year. For more information regarding special education services in the District, contact Yuliana Del Arroyo at [email protected] or (202) 741-0478.

Age verification: Acceptable age verification documents may include, but are not limited to, any one of the following:

  • An original or certified true copy of the student’s official birth certificate;
  • An original copy of court appointed guardianship certificate;
  • A valid, unexpired passport which gives the student’s date of birth;
  • An original or certified true copy of a religious ceremony certificate, which includes the student’s date of birth.

How do I enroll my child in free, high-quality pre-K?

Enrolling at a DCPS or Public Charter School: To enroll at a DCPS or a public charter school, you must submit an application through the My School DC lottery. Preferences will be given to students who live within the boundary or have siblings attending the schools they select. The following documents must be submitted to your child’s assigned school in person at the assigned school site:

  • My School DC Enrollment Form
  • Any required enrollment forms of the individual school: Families should contact the school at which they are matched directly to learn about any additional enrollment paperwork required by the school. A parent or guardian must enroll each child, in person, at the child’s school.
  • DC Residency Verification Form

Enrolling at a Community-Based Organization (CBO): To enroll your child in free pre-K at a CBO, you must contact each program individually. You must provide the following documents to any CBO provider with an open space for your child:

Enrolling in Tuition-Based (Private) Pre-K: You must contact programs individually. You will not be required to prove District residency, but you will need to provide a birth certificate, emergency contact forms, universal health certificate and dental/oral health certificate as mentioned above.

How do I verify my District residency to enroll my child in pre-K?

  • Military families not living on a military installation: All students enrolled in public schools in the District (DCPS and public charter schools) must provide proof of residency in the District or pay tuition as an out-of-state student. 
  • Military families living on a military installation:
  • You may use your current official military housing orders to establish proof of residency. They must show your student’s name, the name of the caregiver enrolling the student, and the address.
  • If you do not yet have your housing orders, please the Office of Enrollment and Residency [email protected] for assistance completing the DC Residency Verification Form.

How can I find child care for my child, rather than pre-K?

Many community-based organizations (CBOs) also provide child care in addition to their pre-K services. Search for CBOs that provide child care that meet the needs of your child and family.

To enroll your child in child care at a CBO, you must provide the following documents to any CBO provider with an open space for your child:

What immunizations must my child have to attend pre-K?

The District of Columbia Department of Health encourages parents or guardians to obtain required physical exams and vaccinations for their children before the start of each school year. Students are required to have their immunizations updated in order to attend school. Students receiving the well-child exam and updating their immunization records will ensure the safety of the entire community.

The District’s No Shots, No School Initiative provides several resources detailing the District’s policy on immunizations.

See the complete list of immunization requirements.