Early Childhood FAQ
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Early Childhood:
1. Why should I enroll my child in an early childhood program?
Children who start behind, stay behind. Research shows that 90% of children who are poor readers in the first grade will still read poorly by fourth grade. Evidence shows that children who have the benefit of a preschool education fair better on standardized tests. Evidence also suggests that attending a preschool program may increase high school graduation rates.
2. How old does my child have to be to enroll in the Early Childhood Program?
Children accepted in the preschool program must be 3 to 5 years old. Children may enter the program at the time after they turn three, regardless of the time of the year, as long as there is space available in a classroom. Children may stay in the program until they are eligible to enter kindergarten. We also have an Early Head Start component for children ages birth to 3. Please see Early Childhood Services and Program Descriptions webpage for more information.
3. Does my child have to live in the Pittsburgh Public School District to attend the Early Childhood Program?
Yes. Children must reside in the Pittsburgh Public School District.
4. Is there a fee for enrolling my child?
There is no cost to income-eligible families for enrolling children in the program. There is a fee-for-service model for families whose income is 300% and above the federal poverty level.
5. Where are classrooms located?
6. Do I have to choose a school in my own neighborhood?
No. You may select any location, depending on availability. Transportation is not provided.
7. How many days a week does the program operate?
Children attend five days a week, Monday through Friday, for six hours a day. The program runs from the last week in August through the first week in June. For hours of operation for a specific location, please contact the Early Childhood Main Office at (412) 529-4291 or view the list of classroom locations: 2019-20 Early Childhood Classroom List.
8. How many children are in a class?
Typically there are up to 20 students per class with one teacher and one educational assistant in each classroom.
9. What will my child learn?
The goal is to ensure children develop appropriate literacy, math, critical thinking and social skills to help them succeed in preschool and make a smooth transition to kindergarten. Children learn these skills by interacting with the teacher, their peers, and in addition to exposure to the Big Day for Pre-K Curriculum Framework which focuses on promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Mathematics) learning.
10. What other services are available through the Early Childhood Program?
Nutrition: Children receive breakfast and lunch each day. The meals meet one-third to two-thirds of their daily nutritional needs.
Health: Health consultants work with the program to provide initial screenings to children and referrals are provided to families to receive follow-up care for the child when health concerns have been identified.
Mental Health/Disabilities: A network of support services is available to provide early identification and remediation services for children with special needs. Mental health professionals provide training to staff and parents to help increase awareness of early diagnosis and treatment of mental health or disability concerns.
Social Services: A network of information, referrals, emergency assistance and crisis intervention services are available to all families as needed. Social service support staff provide outreach services to families through collaboration with community organizations and encourage parent participation through program volunteerism.
Early Head Start: Comprehensive services are provided to children, age birth to 3, in center-based and home-based program options. The center-based options are located in four high schools classrooms (Allderdice, Brashear, University Prep, and Westinghouse) and two classrooms in the Crescent Early Childhood facility where services are provided to infants and toddlers of Pittsburgh Public high school students. Home visiting staff provide direct support services through the home-based program option.
Childcare Partnerships: Partnerships have been formed with a number of childcare and early learning agencies throughout the City for families eligible for Head Start services that may need an extended-day program to accommodate work or school schedules. Children enrolled at local daycare sites receive the same services offered in the Pittsburgh Public classroom-based program option.
- A copy of your child’s birth certificate
- A copy of your child’s immunization records
- A copy of your child’s last physical and dental exams
- Verification of income (pay stub, W2, DPA printout)
- Two current proofs of residency (utility bill, driver’s license, etc.)
12. Will my child be accepted if I apply?
If there is a greater interest in one location than spaces available, a lottery will be held for those locations. When a classroom fills up, children are placed on a waiting list for the next available opening.