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Prekindergarten Application and Eligibility Guidelines

Beginning in fall 2003, prekindergarten enrollment was affected by two state and federal acts: No Child Left Behind and Bridge to Excellence. Based on those two acts, economics became the major factor in determining eligibility. To date in the state of Maryland, prekindergarten is not mandatory; it is an application process based on age eligible children and the economic status of the family. Harford County Public Schools does not have prekindergarten in every elementary school. Children receiving services prior to prekindergarten through HCPS are not guaranteed enrollment.

The purpose for prekindergarten is to prepare at-risk children for kindergarten. Through a structured educational program that consists of instruction in language arts and mathematics, theme-related project work, self-directed activities in learning centers, literature and outdoor play, children acquire the work habits, academic knowledge, and social skills needed for kindergarten readiness. Prekindergarten operates in two half-day sessions: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a. m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children must attend regularly. Parents must make the commitment to their child's early education by ensuring that their child attends regularly and by participating in two parent-teacher conferences a year. Excessive absences will lead to the removal of the child in the prekindergarten program.

To be eligible for prekindergarten, a child must turn four years old by September 1st of the school year. Due to the fact that there is not prekindergarten in every school, there is no early entrance to prekindergarten programs. Interested families may pick up an application at any Harford County elementary school. The completed application must be submitted in person to the elementary school with the prekindergarten program for which the parent/guardian is applying. A family must submit an application to only one prekindergarten site. If more than one application is submitted, the child's eligibility will be jeopardized.

The first prekindergarten application period will be held the first Friday in the month of May beginning at 8:30 a.m. until the last day of school for prekindergarten. The second application period extends from the first day of summer vacation through to the first day of school in August. To apply and have the child considered for prekindergarten, a family member must answer all questions on the application, providing complete accurate information that can be verified. The attendance notification/parent-conference form must be signed. A copy of the family's current income tax form, the child's birth certificate and proof of residence is also required as part of the application process. The health inventory is not required until the child is accepted into the program. No application will be considered until all documentation is submitted. Completing the application is necessary for a child to be considered for prekindergarten, but it does not guarantee acceptance.

Children attending a prekindergarten program in their school attendance area may ride the school bus to and from prekindergarten. Parents of children living outside the school attendance area must provide transportation for their child if he or she is accepted. If transportation interferes with regular attendace or with a child being picked up on time, the child may not continue in the program. Harford County elementary schools with a prekindergarten program include: Abingdon, Bakerfield, Bel Air, Church Creek, Darlington, Dublin, Edgewood, George Lisby at Hillsdale, Hall's Cross Roads, Havre de Grace, Homestead-Wakefield, Joppatowne, Magnolia, Meadowvale, North Harford, Prospect Mill, Riverside Roye-Williams, Old Post Road, and William S. James.

To obtain assistance in completing the prekindergarten application, contact an elementary school with a prekindergarten site.

Schools With PreKindergarten Programs Main Telephone
Abingdon Elementary School 410 638-3910
Bakerfield Elementary School 410 273-5518
Bel Air Elementary School 410 638-4160
Church Creek Elementary School 410 273-5550
Churchville Elementary School 410 638-3800
Deerfield Elementary School 410 612-1535
Dublin Elementary School 410 638-3703
Edgewood Elementary School 410 612-1540
Fountain Green Elementary School 410 638-4220
George D. Lisby at Elementary School at Hillsdale 410 273-5530
Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School 410 273-5524
Havre de Grace Elementary School 410 939-6616
Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School 410 638-4175
Joppatowne Elementary School 410 612-1546
Magnolia Elementary School 410 612-1553
Meadowvale Elementary School 410 939-6622
North Bend Elementary School 410 692-7815
North Harford Elementary School 410 638-3670
Prospect Mill Elementary School 410 638-3817
Riverside Elementary School 410 612-1560
Roye-Williams Elementary School 410 273-5536
William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School 410 612-2033