If your district is interested in opening a new or expanding a current public preschool program, please refer to the following steps.
- Complete the Maine DOE Preschool Planning Survey available online in the fall of the year before opening. The survey link will be provided and a deadline is announced in the Maine DOE News in September of each year.
- Become familiar with Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs.
- Complete the online application and submit it to Maine DOE by April 30 for a fall opening date.
- Applications will be reviewed and districts will be notified by a letter of approval from Maine DOE.
- Users can access a PDF version of the application here.
Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist, is available for on-site consultation, meetings with district staff and community members, resources, phone calls, and email. Do not hesitate to contact her with any questions or concerns.
Support for completing the public preschool application:
Public Preschool Teachers must hold an Early Childhood 081 (Birth-5) endorsement or a conditional 081 endorsement.
Assistant Teachers must hold a minimum of an Educational Technician II Authorization and obtain a Level 4 status on the Maine Roads to Quality Registry within 3 years.
All preschool staff must join the Maine Roads to Quality Registry. Maine Roads to Quality ( https://www.mrtq.org/ )is the professional development network for all early childhood professionals in the state of Maine and is funded through a block grant from the Maine Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Child & Family Services. MRTQ offers free or low-cost training-face-to-face, hybrid and online.
Additional information is provided here to support school districts as they prepare for and establish public preschool programs:
- CDS/District blank MOU template.
- District/Head Start sample contract and MOU1 MOU2.
- District/Community Partner sample MOU.
- Public Preschool Budget.
- TSG/MELDS Crosswalk. Crosswalk between Maine ELDS and Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment.
- Certification & Professional Development. Public preschool teachers and assistants must hold specific endorsements from the Maine Department of Education. The Department has compiled professional development resources to provide ongoing support to educators in their efforts.
- Factors to Consider in Planning Process. Are you interested in starting a public preschool in your community?
- Funding. Only school administrative units can receive funding for public preschool programs.
- Public Preschool Health. Public preschools in Maine should attend to three school health topics in particular: health screenings, immunizations, and the public preschool toileting policy.
- Serving Special Populations. Information about serving children with special needs and English language learners.
- Transportation. Transportation will ensure preschool access to children who may otherwise not be able to attend the program.
- Other Resources. Includes links to general, state, and national resources related to public preschools.
Resources for Administrators
- Child Care Licensing
- PreK-3 Leadership
- “Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School (PDF)
- The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects (PDF)
- Equity Starts Early: How Chiefs Will Build High-Quality Early Education (PDF)
- Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education (PDF)
- Facts About Fadeout The Research Base on Long-Term Impacts of High Quality Pre-K (PDF)
- The Early Catastrophe (PDF)
- Lessons from Research and the Classroom: Implementing High-Quality Pre-K that Makes a Difference for Young Children (PDF)
- The Road to High Quality Early Learning: Lessons From the States (PDF)
- I'm the Guy You Pay Later: Sheriffs, Chiefs, and Prosecutors Urge America to Cut Crime by Investing Now in High-Quality Early Education and Care (PDF)
- Pre-K Benefits: The Facts on Fade-out (PDF)
- Early Care and Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness (PDF)
Early Childhood Specialist
Maine Department of Education