Mission: All New Haven children, birth through 8 are healthy, safe, thriving in nurturing families and prepared to be successful lifelong learners


What’s the difference? Questions Parents Frequently Ask

School Readiness | Nursery School | Day Care | Magnet PreK | HeadStart

The names above are all used to describe programs for children ages three to five years*. The length of day can be as short as 3 hours or as long as 10 hours. Programs may be operated by a not-for-profit community-based organization, a for-profit agency, or a public institution such as a public school or college.

Head Start

Head Start is a prek program for children from low income families. In New Haven, Lulac Head Start (203-836-5855) and New Haven Public Schools (475-220-1462) offer Head Start programs. Together they serve over 800 children. The program is free to families who qualify.

School Readiness

School Readiness (SR) is a prek program located in community-based centers and some NHPS elementary schools. Fees for SR spaces are based on a sliding fee scale set by the State of Connecticut. New Haven serves over 1,000 children with School Readiness funding.

Magnet PreK

Magnet PreKs are part of the New Haven Public Schools. Over 600 children attend prek magnet schools.

How old does my child have to be to enroll?

Children must be at least 3 years old by December 31st of the year they enroll.

How do I enroll my child?

Unfortunately, there is no one place to register for ALL the prek options. • To enroll in a community-based program, parents must inquire with each program. • An application for NHPS Head Start or NHPS School Readiness begins with an appointment at the PreK Registration Office at 80 Hamilton Street. To set up an appointment, call 475-220-1462. • The Magnet Schools have a separate application process. Applications are available in January, due in February and the lottery is held in March. For more info visit http://www.newhavenmagnetschools.com/

When should I start looking for a PreK?

The NHPS Magnet program applications are available in January and are due in February. January is also a good time to begin calling community prek programs to visit and complete an application. NHPS’ School Readiness or Head Start registration office can be contacted in January too.

How much will it cost?

Magnet PreK programs are free. So are Head Start programs. The State-funded School Readiness program requires a parent fee. The fee is based on parent income and family size. In some cases, parents pay no fees.

How can I get a list of the programs or find out more info?

Download the Council’s Mobile App at www.nhecc.org More questions? Call Denise at 475-220-1470.

*Programs for infants and toddlers (children 6 weeks to 3 years of age) are in very short supply and can be expensive. Parents are encouraged to go to www.211childcare.org/ or call 2-1-1 Child Care 1-800-505-1000 for a comprehensive list of all available care.

A number of printable resources for use with families are now available. Visit our Resources page to download or request print-ready files, as well as for links to other useful websites related to early childhood and parenting.As new funding opportunities allow the New Haven Early Childhood Council to offer new services or supports, announcements will be made here.