Early childhood education is a crucial component to a child’s development and future academic success. Studies show that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and stay out of the criminal legal system.
Chicago families with preschool-age children can enroll in preschool starting April 11 for the 2023-24 school year.
If your child is four years old on or before September 1, 2023, they are eligible for CPS full-day and half-day programs. If your child is three years old on or before September 1, 2023, they are eligible for CPS half-day programs and Community Based Programs.
Families can apply online and get information about early learning on the CPS website or by phone, at (312) 229-1690.
CPS gives priority placement in preschool for children in families experiencing homelessness.
Still, it is important to apply as early as possible to avoid being placed on a waitlist.
Children experiencing homelessness can be enrolled in preschool without proof of address, income, guardianship or other documents normally needed for enrollment. This includes children living in shelters, those sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing or economic hardship (“doubled-up”), or those living in other temporary living situations.
Families experiencing homelessness should indicate their living situation on the application and notify the person assisting them with preschool enrollment.
If you submit the application during the Initial Application Period (April 11– May 2) you’ll receive your child’s placement by May 19th. If the application is submitted after May 2, the child’s placement will be sent on a rolling basis. You can log into the portal or call the hotline to find out your child’s placement.
After submitting the application and receiving your child’s placement, you must verify your child’s spot at your assigned preschool program within two weeks or at a Family Resource Center. If you are in a temporary living situation, you can receive transportation to verify your child’s spot.
You can apply to more than one preschool program.
You can accept a spot at a preschool program and remain on the waitlist at another preschool program.
If your child is attending a Chicago Public Schools preschool program, your child has a right to transportation services. If your child is attending a community-based preschool program, you should check with the individual program to determine what supports are available for students in temporary living situations.
The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is available to answer questions and help families by phone with completing the application for preschool enrollment.
Call Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips at 872-588-6800 if you need assistance with preschool enrollment.