Who is eligible for free public school prekindergarten?

To be eligible for enrollment in a free prekindergarten class, a child must be at least four years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year and meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements:  

  • is unable to speak and comprehend the English language; or

  • is educationally disadvantaged (which means a student eligible to participate in the
    national free or reduced-price lunch program... guidelines can be found here); or

  • is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child's guardian or other person having lawful control of the child; or

  • is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority; or

  • is the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or

  • is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (foster care) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code; or

  • is the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as: a peace officer under Section 3106.002, Government Code; a firefighter under Section 3106.003, Government Code; or an emergency medical first responder under Section 3106.004, Government Code.


TEC §29.153(b)SAAH, Section 7.2TEC 5.001 (4)   

Why does prekindergarten matter?

Attending high quality prekindergarten makes a big difference for small children. Children who go to high-quality prekindergarten enter school ready to learn and be successful, confident learners.

What does high-quality mean?

High-quality prekindergarten provides a learning environment that inspires curiosity, builds confidence and fosters of love of learning. In high-quality prekindergarten, children learn essential skills for being successful in school like:

  • Paying attention

  • Following 2-3 step directions

  • Learning lots of new vocabulary words for objects and ideas that help them to comprehend what they read and hear

  • Learning the ABCs and the sounds associated with each letter

  • Learning how to read and write short words including their name

  • Learning numbers from 1-20 and counting

  • Sequencing, sorting and problem solving skills that will help them with reading and math

  • Following daily routines

  • Taking turns, sharing and appropriately communicating with others

  • Building strength and coordination of muscles for academic and nonacademic activities

  • Exploring

  • Asking questions

  • Seeking answers

  • Building confidence as learners and a positive relationship with school


Kindergarten Readiness Statement

TEA supports high-quality prekindergarten that is developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory, and experiential. Young children thrive when provided a learning environment that inspires curiosity, builds confidence, and fosters a love of learning. 

Children are "ready" for school when families, schools, and communities work together to ensure they enter school with strong foundational knowledge and skills across 5 primary domains of development. Although separate, these domains are interconnected and development in one area reinforces development in the other.The primary domains of development are:

  • Physical – Gross and Fine Motor

  • Literacy – Reading and Writing

  • Mathematical – Concepts and Thinking

  • Language and Communication

  • Health and Wellness

In order to provide high-quality early childhood education that is focused on the unique needs of each child, student progress monitoring and kindergarten readiness should be measured across multiple domains of development.

Together we can ensure that every child in Texas thrives!

*** To read more, please visit Texas Education Agency - PreK Family Resources **

Pre-K Family Engagement Plan