Public Preschool

There are currently more than 200 approved public preschool programs serving thousands of children throughout the state. Any school district in Maine may develop a public preschool program, also known as a four-year-old program. While the Maine Department of Education encourages the development of such programs, decisions to implement a public preschool program are made by local school units, dependent upon local school board approval.

Districts seeking to develop a public preschool program must submit a proposal for approval to the Maine DOE. Upon Department approval, public preschool programs are eligible for subsidy through the Essential Programs and Services funding formula. In order to be eligible for public preschool, children must be four years of age by Oct. 15 of the entering school year.

The Maine DOE and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services have laid the groundwork for coordinated management of the variety of early learning and development programs they oversee through the State Agency Interdepartmental Early Learning team. The new Early Learning in Maine website allows these departments to share and maximize resources, ensure consistent quality of programming and better serve high-needs children and their educators.


Susan Reed
Early Childhood Consultant
Maine Department of Education