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The Maine Department of Education (DOE) encourages the development of public preschool programs. The Maine DOE and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have laid the groundwork for public schools to partner with local early childhood programs in order to maximize funding and meet community needs. Decisions to implement public preschool programs are made by local school units, dependent upon local school board approval. Any school district in Maine may develop a public preschool program, also known as a four-year-old program.
A school district seeking to develop a public preschool program must first submit a letter of intent to the Maine Commissioner of Education nine months prior to the start of the school year. In addition, the school district must submit an online application by July 15, 2016 of the upcoming school year subject to approval by Maine DOE. Once approved, public preschool programs are eligible for subsidy through the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding. The subsidy begins after the first year of program implementation. In order to be eligible for public preschool, children must be four years of age by October 15th of the entering school year.
Public Preschool Annual Report - Due July 31, 2017
Public preschools that were new or expanded within the past two years (2015-16 or 2016-17) must complete the Public Preschool Annual Report found here by July 31, 2017.
For more information please see:
- Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS). (PDF, 699KB) What children should know and be able to do by kindergarten entry.
- Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs (RTF, 253KB) These standards are required for all new or expanded public preschool programs beginning in the 2015-16 school year. By July 1, 2017, all preschool programs must comply with these standards.
Early Childhood Specialist
Maine Department of Education