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Preschool Program

Preschool Program

Teacher helps student learn ABC's using pointing chart.

The Charlottesville City Schools Preschool helps children become kindergarten-ready through play and activities, and it is free and available for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds. Preschool is five days a week, 7:45am-2:30pm in our neighborhood elementary schools. Bus transportation is available.

Those who live within the Charlottesville City limits and have a child who will be three or four years old by September 30 may be eligible to enroll in the Charlottesville City Preschool Program and/or the MACAA Head Start Program.

Applications are accepted year-round, but the priority deadline to apply for the 2023-24 school year is March 15, 2023.

Go2Grow logoHow to Apply: is where you can apply for free preschool at Charlottesville City Schools.


The Preschool Team is available to answer questions or assist with your application.

  • Sheila Sparks, Coordinator of Preschool and Family Support: (434) 531-5920 (call or text)
  • Eursaline Inge, Preschool Family Worker: (434) 245-2813
  • Eleanor Barrese, Preschool Family Support Worker: (434) 245-2865: Habla español

Para leer este sitio web en español, indica “Translate” (traducir) en la parte por encima de la página y escoja “Spanish.” La aplicación y más información está disponible en español, a continuación.

More Information on Charlottesville City Schools Preschool Program:

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for the three-year-old class or the four-year-old preschool program, a child must:

  • have turned three or four years old by September 30th of the school year;
  • live in the City of Charlottesville;
  • live in a family with low income and/or other stressors

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JVIAIMG_0721Required Immunizations for Preschool

For attendance at the preschool, documentary proof shall be provided of adequate age- appropriate immunization with the prescribed number of doses of vaccine indicated below. Religious and medical exceptions to immunization requirements are permitted, but documentation must be provided to the school.

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis (DTaP, DTP, or Tdap):  A minimum of 4 doses. A child must have at least one dose of DTaP or DTP vaccine on or after the fourth birthday. DT (Diphtheria, Tetanus) vaccine is required for children who are medically exempt from the pertussis containing vaccine (DTaP or DTP).
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine:  A complete series of 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine is required for all children.
  • Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine: A minimum of 2 measles, 2 mumps, and 1 rubella are required. (Most children receive 2 doses of each because the vaccine usually administered is the combination vaccine MMR). First dose must be administered at age 12 months or older. Second dose of vaccine must be administered prior to entering kindergarten but can be administered at any time after the minimum interval between dose 1 and dose 2.
  • Polio Vaccine: A minimum of 4 doses of polio vaccine. One dose must be administered on or after the fourth birthday.
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine: All susceptible children born on and after January 1, 1997, shall be required to have one dose of chickenpox vaccine administered at age 12 months or older. Effective March 3, 2010, a second dose must be administered prior to entering kindergarten but can be administered at any time after the minimum interval between dose 1 and dose 2.

All children starting preschool must have documentation of a physical examination performed by a physician. If a 3-year-old moves into the 4-year-old program, a physical is not required until entry until kindergarten.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard that there are preschool classes for children younger than four years old. How do I go about getting my child into one of those classes?
There are two programs for children who are younger than four. There are five classes for three-year-old children, with the same eligibility requirements as the four-year-old classes except that the child must be three by September 30th of the school year. Parents interested in this program should use the same contact information as that for the four-year-old program. There is also a special education preschool program for children between the age of two and five who are found to have a significant delay in one or more of the following areas: communication, motor skills, personal/social skills, adaptive behavior and cognitive ability. If you think your child may be in need of special services, call Melinda Whitehurst or Rachel Rasnake at 245-2405.

I live in Albemarle County but I work in the City of Charlottesville. May I pay to have my child attend the preschool program?
Currently, there is no provision to allow for County residents to attend the City preschool program. Albemarle County does have a program similar to the City Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children; it is called Bright Stars. For more information about the County program, call 972-4140.

When I sent in my application, I was told that all the preschool classes were full and that my child would be placed on a waiting list. How long will it take for my child to be placed in a preschool class?
There is no simple answer to this question. Because each preschool class can have only sixteen children, it depends on where and when there is a vacancy and on the degree of need your child has for services.

My child is currently in a preschool class and we plan to move to another location in a different city elementary school attendance zone. Can my child continue in the preschool class that she is now attending?
Our first choice would be to place your child in your new elementary attendance zone. However, if this is not possible, you can transport your child to the school that they currently attend.

My child is in a preschool class and we plan to move out of the city. Can my child continue in their class in the city?
If you move out of the city, your child can remain in the program if you get approval from Central Office and if you transport your child to school on time every day.