Princeton Public Schools
Free Public Preschool
Preschool Lottery Registration deadline: Friday, April 21, 2023
Preschool Lottery: After Friday, May 5 at 10:00 AM
Contact Valerie Ulrich, Coordinator of Special Programs for more information
609-806-4203 ext. 2044
The Princeton Public School’s preschool programs are designed to promote active participatory learning process where children make daily choices about their activities and teachers help them cultivate language, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills as they play. Our program adheres to the state high-quality guidelines. We offer general education preschool classes for three and four-year-olds and specialized preschool classes for three and four-year-old students with disabilities.
*We prioritize our PreK spots for families that qualify for the meals benefit program.
Preschool through Grade 5 registration will be conducted remotely. Please review the residency documentation requirements and required health forms on this website in preparation for document upload or Mailing.
Remote Registration for PreK and Kindergarten is scheduled as follows:
February 6th- February 17th, 2023
Please contact the Residency Office with any questions at 609-806-4203, option 2 ext. 2042, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: Your registration will not be complete until you upload or provide the required documents.
In the event that the District does not have enough preschool “seats” for all of our children, we will use a lottery system.
If your child is 3 or 4 years old by October 1st you can submit his/her name by fully registering your child. All registrations must be complete in order to participate in the lottery. This includes residency verification.
A lottery process will be held to randomly select the students who will participate in the program. A number will be assigned to each applicant. When the number of students needed to fill the available preschool spots is reached, applications will continue to be drawn and this group of students will be the basis of the Princeton Public Schools waiting list. If a student drops out or declines a placement and a vacancy occurs, we will go to the next number on the wait list and that student’s parents will be contacted. The wait list will remain active and will be utilized throughout the year. Parents of selected students will be notified by mail and email following the lottery.
Preschool Disabilities Classes
Parents who suspect their preschool-age child may have special needs may obtain free help from the district’s Child Study Team. This team of district professionals work with families to locate and provide services for those children who are 3-5 years old who may have physical, cognitive, language, social, or emotional difficulties. Screening, professional guidance, and placement in a preschool educational program (if needed) are all available free of charge through the district’s Child Study Team. Additional information is available on NJ DOE Project Child Find and from the district’s Student Services Office.
Children eligible for a pre-school disabled class may attend at no cost. For further information, contact the Princeton Public Schools’ Office of Student Services at 609-806-4200 ext. 2023 or 2027.
Children under the age of 3 who demonstrate delays in development are eligible for free services through another Mercer County program called the Project Child Early Intervention Program. Parent training is also provided.
Preschool General Education Classes
Any child who is 3 or 4 years old on or before October 1st and is a resident in Princeton is eligible to enroll. There are ten general education preschool classrooms. The general preschool classrooms are
- Johnson Park and Riverside for 4-year-olds
- YWCA for 3 and 4-year-olds
- Crimmins Learning Center for 3 and 4 year olds
- Princeton Family Community Learning Center (Cub School) for 3 and 4 year olds
- Dual Language Immersion at Community Park School for 4 year olds
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cost or tuition for the preschool program?
No, Princeton Public Schools offers free public preschool for all Princeton residents
When does the program operate?
The preschool program follows the elementary school calendar for holidays and early dismissal days.
What is the daily schedule look like for preschool students?
The full-day program begins at 8:25AM and ends at 3:00 PM. The preschool program follows the same calendar as our elementary schools. The daily preschool schedule includes greeting time, circle time, small and large group activities, interest-based centers, outside time, snack and lunch time, rest and quiet time, and specials. Preschool classes may also participate in “specials” that include physical education, music, and outside play time when the weather permits.
Who teaches the integrated preschool class?
Classes are taught by a certified teacher and a highly qualified teaching assistant who provides instructional support.
What early childhood curriculum is used?
The early childhood curriculum that is used in the integrated preschool program is the Creative Curriculum. A key feature of this research-based curriculum is the “active participatory learning” process where children make daily choices about their activities and teachers help them cultivate language, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills as they play.
What is the preschool lottery?
The lottery is a standardized process implemented by the Princeton Public Schools when there are more interested families than there are seats available. After a period of open enrollment, all pre-registered families will be entered into the lottery and drawn at random for admission to the school. After available seats for each program are filled, the remaining names will be drawn and added to a waitlist in the order they are drawn.
How do I register multiple siblings or twins in one family?
All preschoolers in a family are registered separately and have equal chance of being selected in the lottery. If one of the siblings is selected for a seat, the other siblings will automatically be selected as well. A sibling is defined as any of the following who reside in the same household qualify as siblings: siblings, half siblings, stepsiblings and children residing in a family foster home.
Are there any priorities for the lottery?
Yes. We offer additional consideration for children whose families are considered economically disadvantaged (see income guidelines for Free or Reduced Priced Lunch Program). Each year the district will identify the number of economically disadvantaged seats available under this priority, a balance that takes into consideration total seats available and planned annual target. Families who meet the economically disadvantaged priority based on the income guidelines may check the box when completing the online registration under the meals benefit program. By checking the box, applicants are consenting to allow PPS staff to verify their status as economically disadvantaged.
My child has an IEP, is he included in the lottery?
Children with special needs/IEP’s do not participate in the lottery. As per NJDOE administrative code, your child will automatically have a seat in our preschool program and receive any/all related services specified in his/her IEP.
I cannot attend the lottery; how can I find out if my child has been admitted?
You do not need to be present at the lottery to accept admission. You will receive a confirmation email and letter.