Pre-K Enrollment and Registration

Don’t wait until your child turns 3 to apply for Pre-K! If your child is turning three or four years old on or before October 1, it is time to complete your Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) application. Children who live in Newark, New Jersey are eligible to participate in FREE Pre-K programs offered by the Newark Public Schools in various settings.

The Basics:

    1. Pre-K is free. You do not have to pay to attend participating Pre-K programs.
    2. You must be a Newark resident.
    3. Your child must be 3 or 4 by October 1.
    4. Child DOES NOT have to be potty trained.
    5. Programs are full day (6 hours).
    6. Morning and Afternoon Care offered at many locations.
    7. Breakfast, Lunch and Snack provided.
    8. Programs are available at district schools, charter schools, and community-based provider preschools. There is a separate application process for district and charter schools and community-based private provider preschools.
    9. District, Charter and Community-Based Preschool providers have evidenced-based curriculums, no more than 15 students in a classroom, and use the GOLD assessments to measure student progress.
    10. PROJECT CHILD FIND: If you have or know a child that is 3-5 years old who has difficulty hearing, walking, talking or has serious health problems, please contact the Office of Special Education at 973-733-7313.

Pre-K Options:

Public School Programs
District, District Head-Start and Participating Charter Schools
Community-Based Preschool Providers
See Newark Enrolls Guidebook for school listings
  • Apply online at or complete a paper application available at any participating school.
  • Admission IS NOT on a first come, first serve basis
  • Families interested in schools with Head Start programming must be pre-certified to be Head Start eligible at District Head Start programs. To be pre-certify, families must bring proof of child’s birthdate, income and Newark residency. Pre-certification does not guarantee placement.
  • You must enroll and register directly at the Community-Based Preschool Program. Walk-ins are welcomed.
  • Admission IS on a first come, first serve basis.
  • You cannot register at more than one school. If you have applied at a district school and are awaiting a match letter please notify the provider upon enrollment.
  • Please note once you have completed an application and submit your documents you ARE ENROLLED at that location.
  • Child must accompany the parent/guardian. You must bring the following: Birth Certificate or passport, proof of income (Head Start locations only), updated immunization records, (3) proofs of address and an updated health physical

Why Should Your Child Attend a Pre-K Program?

Pre-K programs are important because they create a foundation for your child’s future success.

Children who attend free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K build a strong foundation for reading and math, engage in science, learn to problem solve, and work together with peers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the required documentation for registration:
    1. Birth certificate or passport, proof of income (head start programs only, updated immunization records, (3) proofs of address and an updated physical)
  2. Do I have to wait for my child to turn 3 before I enroll in Pre-K?
    1. No, you can enroll now for School Year 2018-2019 if your child will be 3 before October 1, 2018.
  3. Is Pre-K Available for students with disabilities?
    1. All of our pre-k programs work to support, understand and meet the needs of every learner through high-quality instruction and access to additional supports.
  4. Does my child need to by potty-trained to enter Pre-K?
    1. NO! Your child does not need to be potty-trained to enter Pre-K. The staff will work with you and your child on creating strategies to reinforce potty-training.
  5. Is Pre-K Mandatory?
    1. Pre-K is not mandatory; however, learning standards in the state of New Jersey start in pre-k. The New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards are aligned with the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Commont Core Learning Standards. Children who miss pre-k would miss a critical step in building the foundation for what is to come Kindergarten and beyond. The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effect Study (APPLES): Fifth Grade Follow-Up shows that children who attended an Abbott preschool program, such as the one implemented in Newark, “show increased achievement in Language Arts and Literacy, Math and Science” in the 4th and 5th Grade.
    2. In the early stages of life, children need to be exposed to reading and to books. They need to be talked to which helps increase their vocabulary. They need to interact with peers to develop social skills. Children that do not have these experiences risk entering kindergarten with social, behavior, and academic deficits causing them to fall behind their more affluent peers; thus, widening the achievement gap. When a child enters kindergarten lacking the necessary skills to be successful, it becomes difficult to move him or her forward. When a teacher gets a child who cannot express himself or herself because of limited vocabulary or a child who does not know how to follow directions or positively interact with his or her peers, it affects her ability to teach the kindergarten curriculum because she has to help build the foundation that should have been built before entering kindergarten. Kindergarten teachers notice a difference between students who have had access to some type of quality pre-kindergarten experience and those who have not. If a student attended an effective pre-K program there is a difference between him or her and the students that did not (
  6. The Pre-K program I selected is full and cannot accommodate my child. What should I do?
    1. We have close to 100 high-quality preschool programs in the City. All participating programs use an evidence-based curriculum, have certified teachers and small class sizes. You can be placed on the waitlist for your school of choice, however we strongly urge you to explore other options and convenient locations.

Have Questions? Need Help?

Call: 973-733-6234 or 973-733-7333
Text: @newarkprek to 81010
Follow us on Twitter: @nps_oec