Frequently Asked Questions: Preschool Sign-up

48684399563 fc221cf2ab zWhat is Head Start and how do I sign-up?

  • Head Start is an income-based program for lower income families. Children must be 3 or 4 years old by September 15th, the year they will begin preschool. (Children who are 5 years old by September 15th are not eligible). Free half-day options for 3 and 4 year-olds, free full-day options for children who are 4 years old by September 15th.  No spot is guaranteed.
  • To sign up, please call (515) 242-7588 to make an appointment for the 2021-2022 application. Birth verification and proof of income (2020 taxes, or current FIP, or SSI) required.

What is Universal Preschool and how do I sign up?

  • Also known as UPK, is for children who are 4 years-old by September 15th, the year they will begin preschool. (Children who are 5 years old by September 15th are not eligible). Half-day options are free, full day options- parent pays or 1 unit of childcare assistance. First come first serve basis.
  • To sign up, click here for the  2021-2022 application. Birth verification is required for application.

What is the difference between Head Start and UPK?

  • Head Start is free of charge, but you have to qualify with your income. Head Start accepts children who are 3 and 4 years old by September 15th the year they will begin preschool. No spot is guaranteed.
  • For Universal Preschool, only the half days are free, full days cost or we take childcare assistance. Universal Preschool only accepts children who are 4 years old by September 15th the year they will begin preschool. First come first serve basis.
  • Both programs teach the same curriculum and are both at McKee, Mitchell, Taylor, and Woodlawn.

Can I apply for both Head Start and Universal Preschool?

  • Yes, as long as your child will be 4 years by September 15th, you can apply for both programs. (Children who are 5 years old by September 15th are not eligible). If accepted, your child may only attend one program

Do I need to make an appointment for a Head Start application or Universal Preschool application? 

  • For Head Start, yes you have to make an appointment by calling (515) 242-7588.
  • For Universal Preschool, no. The application link is available above and on our website.

Am I assigned a Preschool site or do I get to choose?

  • Out of our four main preschool buildings, you get to choose; there are no boundaries for preschool. McKee, Mitchell, Taylor, and Woodlawn.

What is Shared Visions Preschool and how do I sign up?

  • Shared Visions is for children who are 4 years old by September 15th and live in the attendance area of Capitol View, McKinley, or Moulton Schools and meet income guidelines. Proof of address and income is required. Contact us at preschool@dmschools.org  for information on how to apply.

What if my child was born a few days after the September 15th deadline? 

  • In order to apply, children have to be 3 or 4 years old by September 15th. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions.

Do I need to pay for Head Start or UPK? 

  • Head Start is free of charge; you do not have to pay. For Universal Preschool, half-day classes are free of charge,  there is a cost for full-day classes.

If my child is three and I don’t qualify for Head Start can I pay for it?

  • There is no option to pay for Head Start. Head Start is a free program.