How to Apply for Preschool

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DMPS provides various preschool options to meet family needs.

Welcome to Preschool, an exciting time for children as they begin to explore learning in a classroom setting.

Des Moines Public Schools provides a high quality preschool education for children throughout our community.

Certified teachers meeting the highest standards staff our preschools.

An early childhood education at DMPS provides a great start to learning, promoting the academic and social growth of young children.

Read about, and choose from one of the many options DMPS offers for early childhood education below.


Universal Preschool

Universal Preschool is for children who are 4 years-old by September 15, the year they will begin preschool. (Children who are 5 years old by September 15th are not eligible.)

ONLINE APPLICATION for 2020-2021 

For more information call 242-7588 or email preschools@dmschools.org.

To apply for Universal Preschool at  Cowles Montessori School, please contact the Open Enrollment office at 242-7353.

For a list of all Universal Preschool classroom locations click here.  For a list of class times by location, click here.

DMPS Universal Preschool classes are held five days per week: Monday- Friday.

There are two options for length of day:

  • Half-day preschool (no cost)
  • Full-day preschool (parent pay or 1 unit childcare assistance)

Some scholarships are available for the full-day Universal Preschool classrooms at McKee, Mitchell and Woodlawn.


Head Start Preschool

Head Start is an income-based preschool program for 3 and 4 year-olds. Children must be 3 or 4 years old by September 15, the year they will begin preschool. (Children who are 5 years old by September 15th are not eligible.)

Classes are held five days per week: Monday-Friday.

Half-day options are available for 3 and 4 year-olds, full-day options are available for children who are 4 years old by September 15.

All Head Start options are free of charge.

An appointment is required for Head Start applications.  We are not making application appointments at this time. Please watch for updates on the DMPS website for information about when DMPS offices will reopen.  If you would like to apply for Head Start for the 2020-2021 school year now, leave a message with Drake University Head Start at 515-271-1854.  Applicants will need to bring proof of birth (child’s birth certificate) and proof of income (taxes from 2018 or current FIP or SSI) to their appointment.


Shared Visions Preschool

Shared Visions is an income-based program for 4 year-old children who live in the attendance area of Capitol View, McKinley, or Moulton schools. Contact us at preschool@dmschools.org  for information about how to apply.


For more information about applying for preschool please contact us at preschool@dmschools.org 

Tenemos una línea en español, por favor llame al 242-7975 para más información acerca de preescolar.