Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Enrolling in Georgia's Pre-K Program

Enrolling in Georgia's Pre-K Program – A quickstart guide to determining eligibility, locating and enrolling a child in Georgia's Pre-K and answers to commonly asked questions regarding the program.

Summary: Learn how to determine if a child is eligible for Pre-K and how to locate a Pre-K location. Also find answers to commonly asked questions about Georgia's Pre-K Program.

Applies to: Georgia's Pre-K Program, Families, Children, Enrollment, Provider Search, Lunches, Learning Activities, Field Trips, Special Needs

What is Georgia's Pre-K Program?

Georgia’s Pre-K Program is a state lottery funded educational program for all age eligible four-year-old children in Georgia. The purpose of Georgia’s Pre-K Program is to prepare children for success in Kindergarten and later school years.

Pre-K programs usually operate on the regular school system calendar for the length of a typical school day. Programs may be offered at local public schools or through private providers of preschool services.

For additional information about Georgia's Pre-K Program history, go to:

Pre-K > About Pre-K> History

Pre-K > About Pre-K> Program Components

School Readiness - How does Georgia’s Pre-K Program prepare a child for success in Kindergarten and later school years?

The first of the National Education Goals states "all children will start school ready to learn." Keeping in mind the following contexts, Georgia formulated a definition of school readiness. We believe school readiness must be defined within the context of the nature of four year olds and how they learn. We believe it must be defined within the context of families and how they live. School readiness must be defined within the context of communities and the services they provide. And, it must be defined within the context of schools and their readiness for children.

A child's readiness for school is when...

  • possible health barriers that block learning have been detected,
  • suspected physical or mental disabilities have been addressed,
  • enthusiasm, curiosity, and persistence toward learning is demonstrated,
  • feelings of both self and others are recognized,
  • social and interpersonal skills are emerging,
  • communication with others is effective,
  • early literacy skills are evident, and
  • a general knowledge about the world, things, places, events, and people has been acquired.

For more information on Georgia’s definition of school readiness, go to:

Pre-K > About Pre-K> School Readiness

Is this child eligible for Georgia's Pre-K Program?

To participate, children must be four years of age on or before September 1 of the school year and must be a resident of Georgia. If a child is not served as a four year old, then the child may be eligible to attend the Pre-K Program as a five year old. However, programs may choose to deny enrollment into their Pre-K program children who are age eligible for kindergarten. Parents should check the enrollment policies of local programs before enrolling their child. If enrolled, parents of children who are five years of age on September 1, 2015, and age eligible for kindergarten will be asked to sign a Parent Acknowledgement Form indicating that the child did not previously attend Georgia’s Pre-K Program for longer than 30 days.

Children who are six years of age on September 1, 2015, and are age-eligible for first grade are not eligible for enrollment in Georgia’s Pre-K Program.

Proof that a child is age eligible and is a Georgia resident is required to register for Pre-K. Acceptable proof-of-age includes birth certificate, passport, hospital record of live birth, green card, pink card or Federal I-94 card. You may order a birth certificate online directly from Georgia’s State Office of Vital Records using Official Vital Event Records (ROVER). Acceptable proof-of-residency includes a lease, utility bill or letter from a shelter or employer.

All children enrolled in Georgia's Pre-K Program must have hearing, vision, and dental examination certificates (DHR Form 3300) on file within 90 calendar days of program entry. Form 3300 must be signed by a private practitioner or representative of a local Department of Health.

Immunizations (DHR Form 3231) must be up-to-date or affidavits must be on file within 30 calendar days of program entry. Only health departments and physicians licensed in Georgia can obtain blank immunization certificates (Form 3231). Take your child's personal immunization record to a health department or Georgia physician and they can complete the form and give any required vaccines.

Locating a Georgia's Pre-K Program

To locate a Georgia's Pre-K Program, use the online Provider Search (instructions provided on the search page), contact the Georgia's Source for Finding Quality Child Care toll-free at 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS (877-255-4254) to speak with a child care resource and referral consultant, or call Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning at 404-656-5957 (toll-free at 1-888-4GA-PREK) and ask for the Pre-K consultant of the day.

Registering a child for Georgia's Pre-K Program

Each Pre-K provider sets its own registration dates. Therefore, it is necessary that you check directly with the Pre-K provider where you want to enroll your child to learn when and how you can register.

Because participation in Georgia's Pre-K Program is voluntary for public schools and for private child development centers, there may not be enough spaces in every community for all four year olds who wish to participate. Every effort will be made to contract with eligible centers to create enough spaces for children who want to attend OR to match children with available spaces in other Pre-K program in the area.

Family Handbook - Guidelines, Policies, Expectations and Responsibilities of the Pre-K Center and the Family

The Family Handbook contains important detailed information about program guidelines, attendance policies, meal charges, extended day services, and much more. The handbook also includes the commitments your Pre-K program makes to families, expectations for family involvement in Pre-K, and extension activities to reinforce the Pre-K Content Standards at home.

To view and download the Family Handbook go to:

Pre-K> Families

Preparing for College

Although your child is only beginning his education, now is a good time to start planning for the future. The Path2College 529 Plan, an authority operated under the Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services (OTFS), gives parents a way to start saving today to prepare for a child's tomorrow. With a Path2College 529 Plan account, any earnings in your account are free from federal income taxes when used for qualified higher education expenses. Then, when it's time for college, the money you withdraw for qualified higher education expenses is also tax-free.

For additional information visit the Path2College website.