School Readiness Plus

A new early learning program was created in the 2017 legislative session called school readiness plus. This program is targeted to 4-year-olds demonstrating one or more risk factors. Currently, school readiness plus is only funded for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.  

Program Requirements

  • Assess each child at program entry and exit.
  • Provide a program and instruction aligned with state guidelines and based in research.
  • Coordinate kindergarten transition.
  • Involve parents.
  • Coordinate with relevant community-based services.
  • Cooperate with Adult Basic Education (ABE) and adult literacy programs.
  • Ensure staff-to-child ratios of one-to-ten and a maximum group size of 20 children with at least one licensed teacher.
  • Have teachers knowledgeable in early childhood.
  • Provide at least 350 hours of instruction per year.

Student Eligibility

 A child who is four years of age as of September 1 and who demonstrates one or more risk factors is eligible to participate in the program free of charge. Risk factors include:

-Qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch.
-Is an English language learner.
-Is homeless.
-Has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or interagency intervention plan.
-Is identified through health and development screening with a potential risk factor.
-Is in foster care.
  • A child who is four years of age as of September 1 and who does not demonstrate any of those risk factors is eligible to participate on a fee-for-service basis.
  • A district must adopt a sliding fee schedule for students not demonstrating risk factors, but must waive fee for participants unable to pay.
  • School districts and charter schools must use school readiness plus aid for eligible children.

Application process for 2018-19 program funding

The application period for 2018-19 voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus was conducted in January and open to all district and charter schools. For FY 2019, first-time applicants were eligible for funding in FY2019 only. Sites that received first-time funding in FY 2018 will be funded through FY 2019. Sites funded first in FY 2017 will receive continued funding. As stated in statute (124D.151), all applications were due on January 30, 2018 to be considered for funding in the 2018-2019 school year.



  • Preschool Program Comparison Chart - 6/22/17
    The preschool program comparison chart demonstrates the differences and similarities between three early childhood education opportunities funded by the Minnesota Department of Education: school readiness, school readiness plus and voluntary pre-kindergarten.
  • FY 2018 voluntary pre-K and school readiness plus site rankings - 6/14/17
    This chart demonstrates the rankings of school district and charter school sites in the order they would be funding by voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus as funds are available in fiscal year 2018 (2018-2019 school year).