Whether they have previously been in a child care program or not, children often begin a preschool program at age 3 and attend for two years before transitioning into a kindergarten program. Preschool programs might be either part- or full-day and might meet for two to five days a week. Some are part of a child care facility; others operate as schools that may or may not offer after school care. With a few exceptions, often based on income eligibility, parents must pay for preschool, even if it is offered through a public school district.
Public preschools in Delaware are still a rarity. The Christina and Appoquinimink School Districts both have early education programs. Other districts have more limited programs, including those for children with disabilities as well as those for at-risk students supported by Title I funds. All school districts are required to provide services for young children with disabilities, and families of these children should work with their local school district to determine the most appropriate preschool option.
Head Start is a federal government program that offers free early education to low-income children ages 3 and 4. Delaware’s Early Childhood Assistance Program offers a preschool education to a limited number of children whose families meet income requirements similar to those of Head Start.
Private preschools make up the largest percentage of early education offerings in the state.
These programs can include larger child care centers, family day care providers and preschools operated as businesses by individuals.
Nonprofit preschools comprise those run by nonprofit agencies, those operated by churches or religious organizations, and those that are part of a private elementary school and sometimes a K-12 school.