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Pre-Kindergarten Application Guide

2024-2025 Pre-Kindergarten 4 Application is Now Available

St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) offers full day Pre-Kindergarten 4 to children that reside in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, meet age requirements, and are income eligible (COMAR 13A.06.03.02).  The Pre-kindergarten programs provide high-quality, early learning experiences to help children develop basic skills and concepts necessary for success in kindergarten. Per the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, acceptance in Pre-Kindergarten is based on age, proof of residency, income verification, and if a family is experiencing homelessness.

2024-2025 Pre-Kindergarten Application Apply Now

The Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access can also be of service in answering child specific questions regarding the Pre-Kindergarten Program.  For additional help and information, you may complete the helpdesk form, call (301) 475-5511 x32285, or email Bilingual assistance is available.

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Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Eligibility

SMCPS adheres to the guidelines provided by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.  

A tiered status system is used to determine eligibility:  

  • Tier I - annual family gross income is at or below 300% Federal Poverty Level

  • Tier II - annual family gross income is 301 - 600% Federal Poverty Level

  • Tier III - annual family gross income is over 601% Federal Poverty Level

An eligible child must: 

  • be 4-years-old on or before September 1st of the current year in which they are applying.

  • be from a family with an annual income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. 

  • be identified as a family experiencing  homelessness.

  • New for 2024-2025 ONLY - Children who are identified as a multilingual learner, where English is not the home language, and/or children with a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP)/ Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), and the annual family income is between 301-600% of the Federal Poverty Level may be admitted.

Required Documents

A family who voluntarily applies for Pre-Kindergarten 4 are screened for eligibility.  There are four (4) required documents for screening.  They are:

  1. Pre-Kindergarten Application (online preferred)

  2. Proof of date of birth will include one of the following:

  • an original or copy of the student’s official birth certificate

  • hospital certificate

  • physician’s certificate

  • birth registration

  • a valid, un-expired passport which gives the student’s date of birth

3. Proof of residency will include one of the following:

  • deed with 911 address assignment, mortgage statement with 911 address assignment, and/or signed rental agreement or lease which shows occupancy of an owned or rented domicile;

  • building contract (letter from builder, realtor, landlord, etc., which indicates 911 address and projected occupancy date);

  • current property tax bill/Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation form;

  • current utility bill with parent(s)/guardian(s), name 911 address, and service address of a bona fide residence (no post office box is accepted - wireless telephone bills are not acceptable); Physical address and service address must match;

  • a signed, notarized SMCPS PS 604 - Notarized Landlord Affidavit form from the landlord of the residence in which the child lives verifying that the child resides at that 911 address. Residency documentation from the landlord must be provided using one of the preceding proofs of residency;

  • Patuxent River Naval Base housing form NOW-NATC-1110-1/15, Assignment to Public Quarters, which identifies bona fide residence in St. Mary’s County or other official documentation of housing as provided through the Private-Public Venture Housing/Military Housing Privatization Initiative (Standard Lease Agreement);

  • hardship case as determined by the Director of Student Services; or

  • documentation as available through the Maryland Safe At Home Address Protection Program (COMAR.01.02.11).

  1. Verification of Income will include one of the following:

  • 2023 IRS form: W2, 1099, 1040; OR

  • Three (3) consecutive pay stubs within 3 months of the application date

Additional income the parent(s)/guardian(s) receives to support the child and family may include:

  • Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) Letter displaying current and up to date verification and award amount

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) letter displaying current and up-to-date verification

  • Proof the child receives Medicaid Services

  • Child Support

  • Social Security Insurance (SSI)

  • Social Security Benefits or Pension

Organizing Required Documents 

Before beginning the online process, it is important that you collect all required documents. Scan/or take pictures, and have electronic access to the required documents. These required documents will need to be uploaded when completing the online application. 

How to Apply

It is recommended that all parent(s)/guardian(s) apply using the online application.  The paper application is available in English and Spanish. If a paper application is needed, please contact your home school or the Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access.  It is necessary that copies of the required documents are submitted with a paper application.  Upon completion, paper applications and required documents may be mailed or delivered in-person to the home school.

Online 2024-2025 Pre-Kindergarten Application

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District Level Acceptance in Pre-Kindergarten

All families are welcome to apply. However, income verification is required for all applicants. All submitted applications are screened. The Pre-Kindergarten program is compelled by regulations to serve income-eligible students first. (Applicants are not accepted on a first-come first-served basis.) 

The parent(s)/guardian(s) of applicants that meet Tier I eligibility criteria for acceptance, will receive acceptance notification in writing or by email. Applicants that are not income eligible will be placed on an over income/waitlist and will ONLY be accepted AFTER income eligible students have been accepted and enrolled.  

2024 Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) Chart


At or below 300% FPL or homeless

Accepted in a Pre-K 4 program at an ongoing basis

301%-600% Children with disabilities or multilingual (English as a second language) will be accepted for School Year 2024-2025 ONLY
301% FPL and above

Over income/waitlisted - If vacancies are available after October 1, 2024, a child may be offered in rank order a seat where space/location is available.


Families are encouraged to seek alternate childcare should spaces not become available.


If an application does not meet eligibility criteria, the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified by the District. If the parent(s)/guardian(s) needs more information regarding the status of an application or would like to appeal a decision, they should contact the Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access at (301) 475-5511 x32285.

Pre-Kindergarten School Registration 

Applicants that are determined to be eligible will be registered at the home school.  Parent(s)/Guardian(s) are required to complete the registration process by providing the following documentation to the home school. 

  • SMCPS Registration Information (PS 200)

  • Photo Identification of Parent(s)/Guardian(s)

  • Child’s Social Security Number (Optional)

  • Record of Immunization

  • Medical Physical Examination

  • Maryland Home Language Survey

  • Student Health Information

  • Acceptable Use Policy for Technology

  • Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application

  • Child Custody or Court Orders

Home School District

Information regarding which school serves your residential area is provided by the Department of Capital Planning.  To locate your home school zone, please visit the school system website at Office of Capital Planning.  Click on the  Find a School by your address  button to locate the home school by street name.  


The safety of students during their transportation to and from school is a responsibility that students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) share with the bus driver and school officials. A parent or designated responsible party (at least 13-years-old) must be at the bus stop to put the student on or take a student off the bus. If no adult is at the bus stop to receive a student, the student will be returned to the school.

The Department of Transportation publishes bus routes in July/August of each year.  To locate the bus that is assigned to your home address, go to the  Bus Stop and School Locator.  Here you will be able to locate the bus number and schedule.

Vaccination & Medical Information

In order for your child to enter a Maryland public school for the first time, the following health-related items are required:

Medical Physical Exam

  • A physical examination by a physician or certified nurse practitioner must be completed within nine months prior to entering the public school system or within six months after entering the system.

Immunization Records

  • Evidence of complete Maryland required immunizations for all students in preschool through the twelfth grade.

Blood Lead Certificate

  • Evidence of Maryland required blood testing for lead screening is required for all students born on or after 1/1/2015 when first entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade.

If you have any questions related to health requirements, you may contact the school nurse at your child’s school.

Pre-Kindergarten Locations

There are Pre-Kindergarten programs at all elementary schools except the three (3) schools listed below. Please refer to the chart which indicates the school that corresponds to those home schools for the 2024-2025 school year.

Home School Pre-Kindergarten Program
Mechanicsville ES Oakville ES
White Marsh ES  Lettie Marshall Dent ES
Evergreen ES Green Holly ES

Disclosure of Student Records

In accordance with St. Mary’s County Board of Education Regulations (JIH-R), the written consent of the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be obtained for disclosure of any personally identifiable records pertaining to a student for educational purposes such as registration and enrollment. Confidentiality will be maintained with regard to student records.

Student Transfer Request

A parent(s)/guardian(s) may indicate on the Application a desire to transfer their child to a school outside their home school zone.  This does not guarantee that a child will be granted a transfer.  Permission to transfer from the home school to another school zone is a privilege that must be requested and approved annually by the Director of Student Services. 

A transfer will only be considered after placement in the home school has been offered and if space exists at the requested school.  You may indicate on the Application if you would like to be considered for a transfer outside your home school zone.  Home schools will provide the official Student Transfer Request forms to parent(s)/guardian(s) after admittance to the home school has been established. 

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Contact Information

All elementary schools will provide information about their Pre-Kindergarten Program and are available to answer questions. Please visit the elementary school websites for your home school telephone number and the contact person in the main office who will provide assistance.

The Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access can also be of service in answering child specific questions regarding the Pre-Kindergarten Program.  For additional help and information, you may complete the helpdesk form, call (301) 475-5511 x32285, or email Bilingual assistance is available.

Pre-Kindergarten General Information Flyer 

Federal Poverty Level Chart

Blueprint For Maryland’s Future Early Childhood (Pillar 1)

Contact Information

Charlottis Woodley
Director of Parent & Family Engagement
23160 Moakley Street, 
Leonardtown, MD 20650
301-475-5511 ext. 32243