Chesterfield County Public Schools now accepting applications for prekindergarten program

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To apply for prekindergarten services during the 2021-22 school year, visit the Hot Topics section on mychesterfieldschools.com

Did you know that 90 percent of a child’s brain has developed by the time they are 5 years old? Early learning has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to grasp concepts and meet with future successes both in school and in life.

Studies have shown that families with economic needs and other environmental risk factors may impact a child’s kindergarten readiness. Because a strong educational foundation is crucial for young children to prosper, the Office of Early Childhood Service provides early childhood education services to Chesterfield County’s 4-year-old children who are most in need.

To help best serve the community’s young at-risk children, Chesterfield County Public Schools offers prekindergarten services to families who meet specific eligibility criteria at several elementary school sites.

Chesterfield County Public Schools currently serves 987 prekindergarten students, a 46 percent increase during the last five years. School-based prekindergarten programs are currently at Bon Air, Chalkley, Crenshaw, Crestwood, A.M. Davis, Ettrick, Falling Creek, Hening, Hopkins, Jacobs Road, Matoaca, Providence, and Reams Road elementary schools.

In the fall of 2020, the School Board approved the creation of the Chester Early Childhood Learning Academy, in which approximately 480 more students will be served onsite in Head Start, Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), Early Childhood Special Education and Title I classes. The Academy is located in the old Harrowgate Elementary School, which currently is being retrofitted with cost savings from 2013 school bond projects.

The Chester Early Childhood Learning Academy is a unified prekindergarten center that will serve students from Bellwood, Bensley, Beulah, M. Christian, Curtis, C.C. Wells, Ecoff, Enon, Harrowgate, Gates, Salem Church, and Elizabeth Scott elementary schools.

Prekindergarten is a full-day program that follows the school calendar and school hours. A child must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 30, 2021 and reside in Chesterfield County to attend prekindergarten.

Families who wish to apply to Chesterfield County Public Schools prekindergarten program will need to complete the online prekindergarten application located in the Hot Topics section of the school division’s website (mychesterfieldschools.com).

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions that will help guide families through the prekindergarten application process:

Do I have to pay for this prekindergarten program?

  • No, there is no cost to Chesterfield families. Prekindergarten programs are funded through the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), federal Head Start and Title 1 grants awarded to the school division.

How does Chesterfield County Public Schools choose children to participate in the prekindergarten program?

  • Acceptance into a prekindergarten classroom is granted as slots are available after a complete application has been submitted, reviewed and scored.
  • Eligible students who live within the attendance zone of a school with a prekindergarten program are considered first.
  • Go to bit.ly/CCPS-FindMySchool to find the school a student is zoned to attend or call 639-8915 for assistance.

When do you start accepting prekindergarten applications?

  • Applications are accepted year-round, and invitations for enrollment are based on the child’s ranking on the waitlist rather than via a first-come, first-serve basis.

Is transportation to and from school provided?

  • If you live within the school’s attendance zone, then transportation is provided in accordance with Chesterfield County Public Schools’ transportation guidelines.

What curriculum is taught in the prekindergarten program?

  • All prekindergarten programs at Chesterfield Schools utilize the research-based curriculum, The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. This curriculum helps teachers create a high-quality learning environment and build a thorough understanding of best practices.

I want to apply online, but I don’t have Internet access. Where can I get free Internet access?

  • Families who don’t have Internet access can call the PreK Welcome Center at 639-8915 to set up an appointment to complete the application.
  • Also, the school division’s technology network is available at all Chesterfield County schools and can be accessed while in a school parking lot.
  • Our community partner, Comcast, has informed the school division that its Xfinity hotspots are open for public use during this public health crisis. Visit here to find the location closest to you: https://wifi.xfinity.com/

Who do I contact if I have questions about the prekindergarten application process?

What documents will I need to upload with my prekindergarten application?

  • The child’s certified birth certificate (original document).
  • Proof of income for all individuals contributing to the family. You may provide one of the following: 2020 W2; 2020 1040 tax form; two most recent check stubs; TANF verification; or a letter from your employer indicating period of employment and salary, child support, social security benefits and/or unemployment.
  • Current lease/mortgage agreement. If not in your name, you will need to complete a residency affidavit, which we will notarize. The homeowner or person renting the home must be present with you at the time of your scheduled appointment.
  • Current utility bill (gas, electric, water, etc.) in your name, dated within the past 30 days.
  • Picture I.D. (military I.D., driver’s license, DMV I.D. or other photo I.D.)
  • Medical and dental insurance cards.
  • Current physical/immunization examination report, completed within one year before the start of the preschool school year. Page one must be completed and signed by the student’s parent or guardian.
  • Completed dental exam form, dated within the past six months.
  • Court-ordered custody papers, if applicable.
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP), if applicable.

When is the first day of school for prekindergarten students?

  • Aug. 23, 2021 is the first day of school on the traditional school calendar.
  • July 19, 2021 is the first day of year-round school at Falling Creek Elementary School.
  • However, prekindergarten students will have staggered start dates. Families can access school calendars at bit.ly/CCPS-Calendars

What are the staggered start dates for prekindergartners attending the Chester Early Childhood Learning Academy or a school on the traditional calendar?

  • Some prekindergarten students will attend Aug. 23-24; other prekindergarten students will attend Aug. 25-26. (Schools will assign students to specific days.)
  • All prekindergarten students will report to school daily starting Aug. 27.

What are the staggered start dates for prekindergartners attending year-round school at Falling Creek Elementary School?

  • Students with last names beginning A-L will attend on July 19-20.
  • Students with last names beginning M-Z will attend on July 21-22.
  • All prekindergarten students will report to school daily starting July 23.

What can I do to help prepare my prekindergarten child for kindergarten?

  • Visit our Kindergarten Readiness website for helpful tips and ideas that will help you prepare your child for kindergarten: bit.ly/CCPS-KReady
  • Subscribe to our Office of Family and Community Engagement’s K Ready newsletter for fun activities and simple ways to help prepare your child for their upcoming transition into kindergarten: https://www.smore.com/05317