Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten

Voluntary pre-kindergarten was established by Governor Dayton and the 2016 Minnesota Legislature for the purpose of preparing children for success as they enter kindergarten the following year. The funding allows districts, charter schools with recognized early learning programs, or a combination thereof, to incorporate a voluntary pre-K program into their E-12 system.

As part of Minnesota’s education system, voluntary pre-K is required to meet E-12 program expectations and follow the same general set of rules regarding such items as MARSS reporting, STAR reporting, expulsion, monitoring and compliance, professional development, teacher evaluation, Q Comp, and inclusion of children with disabilities. Additionally, voluntary pre-K comes with its own set of high-quality program standards, such as providing instruction through play-based learning, coordinating appropriate transition to kindergarten, involving parents and families in program planning, and more.

Applications now open for 2018-19 program funding

The application period for 2018-19 voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus is now open for all district and charter schools. A single application process has been designed for renewal, new, and expansion applications (including attachments), allowing one application per district or charter school. First time applicants are eligible for funding in FY2019 only. If the first time your site received funding was in FY2018, your site will be funded for one more year, FY2019. Sites funded first in FY2017 will receive continued funding. As stated in statute (124D.151), all applications are due on January 30, 2018 to be considered for funding in the 2018-2019 school year. Please complete the online application.

A recorded webinar overviewing the voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus requirements and outlining the application process is available here: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/VideoNew/?group=Communications&id=MDE073145

Additionally, we will offer an Open Office webinar to answer questions about the application process. This is an open call-in format with MDE early learning services and school finance staff answering your specific questions related to the voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus application. 
Topic: Preschool Funding Office Hours Webinar – Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and School Readiness Plus
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2018
Time: 11:30 am, Central Standard Time

To register for this session go to https://mde.webex.com/mde/k2/j.php?MTID=tedb066d50ea7f2e027621c1dc64b90bb and register. Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the session.


For more information about the assessment tools selected for the Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP)  view the KEP Assessment Tip Sheet.