Early Childhood Education Programs

The Rhode Island Department of Education is committed to ensuring that all children begin school ready to learn and are ready to have success in their schooling careers, as life-long learners, and productive citizens. 

Students on climbing structureProviding access to voluntary, free, high-quality pre-kindergarten programs is a strategy proven to help close the achievement gaps that are noticeable even before children enter school and to provide increased educational opportunities for all students. Research shows that attending high quality early childhood education programs helps children develop important social and cognitive skills and knowledge that prepares them to succeed in school.

There is clear evidence of long-lasting benefits for children who participate in very high quality educationally focused early childhood programs. The benefits to children can also generate substantial government savings, including reduced need for special education services, reduced need for cash assistance and other public benefits as well as reduced rates of incarceration. In fact an analysis by economist Robert Lynch, from the Economic Policy Institute, predicts that:

“A public investment in providing high-quality prekindergarten to all Rhode Island children ages 3 and 4 would start paying for itself by generating cost savings within 9 years. By the year 2050, the ratio of total benefits to total costs would be 8 to 1.”

The Rhode Island Education Aid Foundation Formula approved in 2010 will take a phased-in approach to expanding access to high-quality Pre-K starting with communities that have a high proportion of children eligible for free and reduced price lunch. The phased-in approach will allow our state to ensure that Pre-K expansion creates high-quality learning programs, improves access for the students who need it the most, and assures a smooth transition between early childhood and K-12.

Technical Paper on Setting Expectations for Rhode Island's Youngest Children: Developing High-Quality Early Learning and Development Standards [PDF, 238KB]

2014-15 STATE PRE-Kindergarten programs

The 2014 – 15 state pre-kindergarten program lottery was held in August 2014. Enrollment for this school year is closed. This year's participating programs are:

Central Falls:

  • Central Falls School District, Capt. Hunt Early Learning Center (12 Kendall Street) This coming school year, the Central Falls School Department will continue to operate one Pre-K classroom at the Captain Hunt Early Learning Center. This coming school year will be its third year of involvement with the Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Cranston:

  • Comprehensive Community Action Program (848 Atwood Ave.) Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP), a Head Start grantee, will operate one pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) classroom in Cranston. This coming school year (2014-15) will be its first year of involvement with the Rhode Island Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Newport:

  • East Bay Community Action Program Head Start (8 John Chafee Blvd.) East Bay Community Action Program, a Head Start grantee, will operate two state Pre-K classrooms. This coming school year will be its second year of involvement with the Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Pawtucket:

  • Ready to Learn Providence @ Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center (333 Roosevelt Avenue Ready to Learn Providence, a program of the Providence Plan, will operate one state Pre-K classroom at the Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center. Ready to Learn Providence has been involved with the Pre-kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009. 

Providence:

  • Beautiful Beginnings (700 Elmwood Avenue) Beautiful Beginnings, a program of the Jammat Housing and Community Development Corporation, will operate one state Pre-K classroom in Providence. Beautiful Beginnings has been involved with the Pre-Kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009.
  • The Mariposa Center (1 Corliss Park) The Mariposa Center will operate one state Pre-K classroom at its new location, the Rhode Island School for the Deaf. The Mariposa Center has been involved with the Pre-kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009.
  • Ready to Learn Providence @ CCRI Liston Campus (1 Hilton Street) Ready to Learn Providence, a program of the Providence Plan, will operate one state Pre-K classroom at the Community College of Rhode Island Providence campus. Ready to Learn Providence has been involved with the Pre-Kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009.
  • Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center (25 Danforth Street) Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center will operate two state Pre-K classrooms in Providence. The Center is a program of Capital City Community Center, a nonprofit social-service agency located in the Smith Hill section of Providence. This coming school year will be its second year of involvement with the Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Warwick:

  • CHILD, Inc. (160 Draper Avenue) Child, Inc., a Head Start grantee, will operate one state Pre-K classroom in Warwick. This coming school year (2014-15) will be its third year of involvement with the Pre-kindergarten Program.
  • Imagine Preschool @ CCRI Knight Campus (400 East Avenue) Imagine Preschool, a program of the Providence Center, will operate one state Pre-K classroom at the Community College of Rhode Island Warwick campus. Imagine Preschool has been involved with the Pre-Kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009. 
  • Westbay Community Action Children’s Center (22 Astral Street) Westbay Community Action Children’s Center, a program of Westbay Community Action, Inc., will operate one state Pre-K classroom in Warwick. Westbay Community Action Children’s Center has been involved with the Pre-Kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009.

West Warwick:

  • CHILD, Inc. (28 Payan Street) Child, Inc., a Head Start grantee, will operate two state Pre-K classrooms in West Warwick. This coming school year (2014-15) will be its third year of involvement with the Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Woonsocket:

  • Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association (204 Warwick Street) Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association will operate two state Pre-K classrooms. Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association has been involved with the Pre-Kindergarten Program since its inception in 2009.

2015-16 STATE PRE-K LOTTERY APPLICATION

The Rhode Island Pre-Kindergarten Program, now in its 6th year, provides free, high-quality pre-kindergarten classes to eligible children. RIDE oversees the program. This year, 306 children are participating in 17 pre-kindergarten classes statewide. Applications for next year's Pre-K lottery will be made available online and at all participating Pre-K programs. If you would like to be notified when the application is posted and available, please click on the link below.

2015 – 2016 State Pre-K Email List

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-K Program Overview

In 2008, the RI General Assembly enacted legislation directing the RI Department of Education to begin planning for an initial pilot prekindergarten program meeting high-quality standards. The resulting design has earned the program a quality rating of 10 out of 10 in the annual National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) State of Preschool publication.

Curriculum

From the time children walk into a RI Pre-Kindergarten classroom until the time they leave, children are actively engaged in learning. Intentional teaching means that teachers apply what they know from research and best practice in the field of early childhood and intentionally plan their day to ensure that every child gets the most out of every experience.

Classroom Quality

RI Pre-Kindergarten teachers are committed to continually assessing and refining their teaching practice to be the best that they can be. PreK Program classrooms use a number of tools that provide data to teachers about their classroom practices.

Child Assessment

RI Pre-Kindergarten classroom teachers implement a system of ongoing child assessment which includes observations of children, samples of children’s work, interviews with children, and interviews with parents. This information is entered into a web-based child portfolio using Teaching Strategies GOLD and is used by teachers to inform curriculum planning, to differentiate instruction for individual students and groups of students, and to ensure that children make steady progress toward learning outcomes.

Family Engagement

Family Engagement is a core component of high-quality, early education classrooms. Children do better in school when they experience a preschool curriculum that is culturally relevant and integrates elements of their own life experiences. In addition, when parents and caregivers partner with teachers and support children’s learning at home, we create the conditions that maximize outcomes for children.



RIDE’s 2013 Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Program Standards for Approval of Preschool and Kindergarten Programs build upon a long history of legislative, state and community commitment to protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of Rhode Island’s children. The 2013 CECE Standards guide the policies and practices of preschool and kindergarten programs committed to providing children with the highest quality early childhood education.

The 2013 CECE Program Standards build upon a long history of legislative, state and community commitment to protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of Rhode Island’s children by supporting high quality early childhood education.

RIDE’s CECE Program Standards reflect the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s commitment to central elements of high quality early childhood education including the understanding that:

  • In the early childhood years, children develop the foundation upon which subsequent development in all domains of learning is built. These years are crucial to a child’s healthy growth and development.
  • Disparities in what children know, understand and are able to do are evident before they enter school and are strongly associated with social and economic circumstances. Participation in high-quality early childhood education programs helps close these gaps in achievement.
  • Early childhood education programs that implement research-based program standards of quality have been shown to result in positive educational, social, and economic outcomes for both children and society.

CECE Program Approval represents the highest bar in the state’s early learning “quality continuum” which begins at DCYF licensing, progresses through BrightStars, the state’s TQRIS rating process, and culminates in RIDE CECE Approval.

Application Information

Application for CECE Program approval is voluntary. Programs wishing to apply for CECE Initial Approval for one or more classrooms are encouraged to use the self-assessment (link below) to determine approval readiness. Potential applicants may want to begin compiling necessary application components; however, programs are encouraged to wait for the launch of the online application to submit an application. For more information please contact Carla Swanson at Carla.Swanson@ride.ri.gov or 401-222-8994.

CECE Program Standards

CECE Application and Review Documents

Resources for all Rhode Island Early Childhood Education Programs

  • ADA Guidance: The publication Commonly Asked Questions about Child Care Centers and The Americans with Disabilities Act is available through the Department of Justice.
  • BrightStars: BrightStars is Rhode Island’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). QRIS initiatives exist in many states across the country, and although each state model is unique, all QRIS programs are designed to rate the quality or level of a child care program, identify areas for improvement, inform families about levels of quality, and target quality improvement resources.
  • Caring for Our Children: The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education publishes Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care, 2nd Edition as a FREE downloadable copy.
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is a system for observing and assessing the quality of interactions between teachers and students in classrooms.
  • Division of Early Childhood (DEC), Council for Exceptional Children: The DEC is a non-profit membership organization designed for individuals who work with or on behalf of children with special needs, birth through eight years and their families.
  • DCYF Licensing and Programs:  To begin the licensing process with DCYF, please email Brenda Almeida. Be sure to include the following information with your request: your program name, mailing address, phone number and person to contact.
  • The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS)
  • Handbook of Public Playground Safety: The Handbook of Public Safety is a Consumer Products Safety Commission document available to be downloaded for free.  
  • LISC: LISC operates The Rhode Island Child Care Facilities Funds, which provides the capital and technical expertise that child care programs need to improve the quality and capacity of their physical space. The Fund assists licensed child care centers and homes that are committed to providing high quality care and to serving low-income children eligible for DHS subsidies from infancy through school-age years.
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): The NAEYC is the nation's largest early childhood professional membership association for early childhood educators. NAEYC sponsors a variety of training including an annual conference; published the journal "Young Children", and various resource materials; advocated related to national, state, and local public policy; provides a variety of documents on effective practice related to young children; and operates an accreditation system designed to improve the quality of care and education provided for young children in group programs.
  • RIDE: Evaluation of Credential Request
  • RI Early Learning Council
  • RI Early Learning and Development Standards
  • Rhode Island Red Cross
  • Safe Water Drinking Act

Professional Development Resources

Site Documents

Documents on this site require the use of the following programs:

DOC - Microsoft Word

PDF - Acrobat Reader

PPT - Microsoft PowerPoint

XLS - Microsoft Excel