Establishing a Program

If your district is interested in opening a new public preschool program, please refer to the following steps.

  1. Complete the Maine DOE Preschool Planning Survey available on-line in the fall of the year before opening.  The survey link will be provided and a deadline announced in the Maine DOE News in September of each year.
  2. Become familiar with Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs.
  3. Complete the on-line application and submit to Maine DOE by April 30 for a fall opening date.
  4. Applications will be reviewed and districts will be notified by a letter of approval from Maine DOE.
  5. You can access a blank PDF application here.

Sue Reed, 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 public preschool application

Teacher Degree Requirement

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 on-line. 

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 Stratgies 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.
    Contact Us

    Nicole Madore
    Early Childhood Monitor
    Maine Department of Education
    Phone: 207-624-6677
    Email: nicole.madore@maine.gov