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Public preschool application open

Spots are available in area public preschool programs for the coming school year, and families are encouraged to apply by the end of this month.

Staff from the different programs will be at Sin Barreras, 1425 Seminole Trail, Suite 310, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday to talk with families about preschool and assist with the application process. Interpreters will be onsite as well.

Preschool classes in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, and MACAA Head Start are free and open to families who meet eligibility requirements.

For example, in Charlottesville, a child is eligible if they are 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 30, live within city limits and part of a family with low income and/or other stressors, according to the city’s preschool website.

Albemarle County’s Bright Stars program serves 4-year-olds who may be at risk for developmental or other educational challenges and also considers a range of child and family risk factors in determining eligibility.

Head Start is open to children who are 3 or 4 years old. Head Start also has a program for children birth to 3 years old as well as expectant mothers. For more information, contact MACAA Head Start at (434) 295-3171 ext. 3008.

MACAA Head Start serves children in Charlottesville as well as those in the counties of Albemarle, Louisa, Fluvanna, and Nelson.

The three preschool programs work together and use a joint application as a way to help ensure families can access the right program. That application and more information can be found on

“Our goal is to work together to get as many [children] enrolled in a high-quality preschool experience, irrespective of which program that is,” Bright Stars coordinator Carol Fox said.

Families who submit a complete application by the end of April will hear about their eligibility status during the first week of May. Applications also are accepted throughout the year to fill vacancies. Those who want to ensure their child is in preschool by the first day of school should apply soon, Fox said.

As part of the application, families are asked to provide proof of their home address and income as well as information about their preschool-aged child.


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