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RI Pre-Kindergarten Programs RI Pre-K Logo

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

RI Pre-Kindergarten 2021-2022

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), is proud to announce the newly awarded RI Pre-Kindergarten classrooms and the opening of the lottery for those state-funded RI Pre-K programs for the 2021-2022 school year. RI Pre-K, entering its 13th year, provides free, high-quality Pre-K education to eligible 4 year old children.

Rhode Island will be expanding RI Pre-K by 27 new classrooms and 516 seats, growing from 100 to 127 classrooms, and expanding to 18 communities to serve 2,364 four-year old children statewide in the 2021-2022 school year.

RI Pre-K programs are identified through a competitive grant application process that evaluates the organization’s demonstrated ability and experience to provide a high-quality early childhood program and a commitment to continued quality improvements.

RI Pre-K has expanded each year to serve more communities and its children using a mixed-delivery model comprised of Head Start programs, local schools and community based childcare providers.

Funding is available due to new Federal grants, including the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Age 5 (PDG B-5).

“Expanding Pre-K across Rhode Island communities is one of the best investments we can make to help more students reach their highest potential,” said Education Commissioner Infante-Green. “Research clearly shows that access to high-quality early learning opportunities helps pave a strong foundation for a child’s long-term educational success. I encourage families with eligible students to apply and take advantage of these additional seats.”

As a testament to Rhode Island’s commitment to providing high quality early learning opportunities for children, Rhode Island was once again recognized as a national leader in quality Pre-K by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for 2020. View RI's 2020 Pre-K Yearbook.

For more information on the 2021-2022 RI Pre-K Programs and the lottery application process please visit the tabs below.

Families may contact the RIDE Pre-K team at RIPre-K@ride.ri.gov with any questions.


Pre-Kindergarten 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.

In 2009, Rhode Island established a state-funded pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program. The pilot program initially included 126 four-year-old children and their families. Simultaneous to the pilot launch, Rhode Island began working with the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), a nationally respected early childhood education research organization, to conduct a landmark randomized control research study to evaluate the effects of Rhode Island’s Pre-K pilot program on participating children’s early learning outcomes.

This initial report shares the findings from the NIEER study and evaluation report of the 2009 – 2011 RI Pre-K Demonstration Project, describes the growth of the state pre-K program, and provides details regarding Rhode Island’s commitment to ongoing quality improvement within the state-funded Pre-K program.

teacher and young children in a classroom

Providing 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.

Lottery Application

2021-2022 State Pre-K Lottery Application is Closed

Thank you for your interest in the RI State Pre-K Lottery. The lottery closed on July 12, 2021.
If you are interested in enrollment availability at an RI Pre-K program please contact that program directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Interest in the 2022-2023 State Pre-K School Year Lottery Application

The Rhode Island Department of Education is collecting a list of families interested in the RI State Pre-K program for the 2022-23 school year. Those interested in receiving information about when the lottery is open for the following school year (anticipated Spring 2022) should add their name to the notification list below:

2022-2023 Pre-K Email Notification Sign Up


2021-22 State Pre-Kindergarten Programs

This year's participating Pre-K programs are:

Central Falls

  • Capt. Hunt Early Learning Center, Central Falls School - 12 Kendall Street (401-727-7720)
    Applications are available on site and at Central Office 949 Dexter St
  • Progreso Latino / Progreso Excellence Academy - 626 Broad Street (401-728-5920)
  • The Children’s Workshop - 151 Hunt Street (401-727-4474)


  • CHILD, Inc. - 23 Cady Street (401-823-3228)
  • Washington Oak Elementary, Coventry Schools - 801 Read School House Rd (401-822-9400 x259)


  • Cranston Public Schools
    • Arlington Elementary School - 155 Princess Ave. (401-270-8179)
    • Edgewood Highland School - 160 Pawtuxet Ave. (401-270-8065)
    • Stadium Elementary School - 100 Crescent Ave. (401-270-8188)
  • Cadence Academy - 546 Budlong Road (401-228-3317)
  • Comprehensive Community Action Program - 848 Atwood Avenue (401-943-5160)
  • Little Learners Academy - 950 Phenix Avenue, Cranston (401-714-0088)

East Providence

  • East Bay Community Action Program - 70 Turner Ave. (401-649-4233 ext. 100)
  • East Providence School Department (401-435-7500 ext. 30034)
    **Applications available at the East Providence Administration Offices, 145 Taunton Ave
    • Oldham School - 60 Bart Drive
    • Martin Middle School - 111 Brown Street
  • The Children’s Workshop - 411 Narragansett Park Drive (401-434-1118)


  • Graniteville School - 6 Collins Avenue (401-231-8790)
  • Over The Rainbow - 1269 Plainfield Street (401-383-4664)


  • Academy for Little Children - 6 Wake Robin Road (401-333-4222)


  • East Bay Community Action Program Head Start - 740 West Main Road (401-318-2544)


  • East Bay Community Action Program Head Start - 8 John Chafee Blvd. (401-367-2001)

North Kingstown

  • Sunshine Child Development Center - 11 Iafrate Way (401-294-3510)

North Providence

  • Dr. Daycare - 2 Volturno Street (401-723-7784)
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency - 79 Waterman Avenue (401-519-1979)


  • Children’s Friend and Service - 13 Legion Drive (401-752-7700)
  • Dr. Daycare - 25 Thornley Street (401-722-7000)
  • Heritage Park YMCA - 333 Roosevelt Avenue (401-727-2050)
  • Pawtucket School Department
    **Applications for these sites are available at the Pawtucket Central Office, 286 Main St.
    • Fallon Memorial School - 62 Lincoln Avenue (401-729-6254)
    • Nathaniel Greene School - 235 Smithfield Avenue (401-729-6260)


  • Beautiful Beginnings - 700 Elmwood Avenue (401-785-8485)
  • Beautiful Beginnings @ CCRI Liston Campus - 1 Hilton Street (401-785-8485)
    **Lottery Applications for this site can be picked up and dropped off at 700 Elmwood Ave.
  • Children’s Friend
    • Friendship Center - 350 Point Street (401-752-7600)
    • Berkshire Center - 99 Berkshire Street (401-752-7500)
    • Hartford Center - 550 Hartford Avenue (401-752-7950)
    • Althea Center - 70 Union Avenue (401-495-3600)
  • Federal Hill House - 9 Courtland Street (401-421-4722)
  • Genesis Center - 620 Potters Avenue (401-781-6110)
  • Imagine Preschool - 520 Hope Street (401-276-6129)
  • Meeting Street - 1000 Eddy Street (401-533-9100)
  • Over the Rainbow - 50 Niantic Avenue (401-383-0068)
  • Providence Public Schools
    **Applications available on site and at Registration Office, 325 Ocean Street
    • Charles Fortes Elementary School - 234 Daboll Street (401-278-0501)
    • Harry Kizirian Elementary School - 60 Camden Avenue (401-456-9369)
    • Pleasant View Elementary School - 50 Obediah Brown Road (401-456-9325)
    • Young Woods Elementary School – 674 Prairie Avenue (401-278-0515)
  • Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center - 25 Danforth Street (401-455-3890)
  • The Children’s Workshop - 15 Clarkson Street (401-383-9958)

South Kingstown

  • Tri-County Community Action - 1935 Kingstown Road (401-515-2471)


  • East Bay Community Action Program – 790 Main Street (401-245-2833)
  • The Children's Workshop - 410 Child Street (401-247-2503)


  • CHILD, Inc. - 849 Centerville Road (401-823-3777)
  • CHILD, Inc. - 160 Draper Avenue (401-732-5200)
  • Precious Years - 205 Hallene Road #324 (401-738-0550)

West Warwick

  • Academy for Little Children - 10 James P Murphy Industrial Highway (401-823-5000)
  • CHILD, Inc. - 28 Payan Street (401-828-2888)


  • Tri-County Community Action - 34 Pond Street (401-515-2471)


  • Connecting for Children and Families - 46 Hope Street (401-766-3384)
  • Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association (401-769-1850)
  • YWCA Rhode Island - 514 Blackstone Street (401-769-7450)

Quality Standards

Quality Standards

Rhode Island's State Pre-K Programs must meet the highest level of quality as indicated by the CECE Program Standards.  Within the CECE Program Standards, Learning and Development includes curriculum, child assessment, and family engagement. 


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.

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

Quality Continuum

The Rhode Island Department of Education’s Early Childhood Programs are a part of the state’s quality continuum. The Quality Continuum for early childhood education programs begins with the foundation of DCYF licensing or Basic Education Program regulations.  As programs make quality improvements, they move up through the 1-5 BrightStars rating process. The highest bar in the quality continuum for preschool and kindergarten programs is approval under RIDE’s 2013 Comprehensive Early Childhood Education (CECE) Standards for Approval.  

early childhood program quality rating continuum

Federal Pre-K Expansion Grant

Federal Pre-K Expansion Grant

In 2014, along with 34 other states, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) submitted what is now recognized as a winning application. RIDE will receive $19 million dollars over four years to expand its high quality State Pre-Kindergarten Program (Pre-K). These federal resources, combined with continued state investment, will significantly increase access to this high-quality program. Rhode Island’s plan is elegantly simple. The RI Department of Education (RIDE) will use federal Preschool Expansion Grant dollars to:

  • Expand access to the high quality Rhode Island State Pre-K Program by both accelerating the existing state expansion plan and leveraging the federal dollars to achieve increased access in seven high-need communities that have more than 50% of children enrolled in Free and Reduced Price Lunch: Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, West Warwick, Newport, Central Falls and East Providence 
  • Improve upon the state processes and supports that ensure the quality implementation of the program, including monitoring, technical assistance and the implementation of a rigorous program evaluation. 

Under RIDE’s plan the state will expand access to the high quality Rhode Island State Pre-K Program from 17 classrooms (306 children) in school year 2014-15 to 60 classrooms (1080 children) in school year 2019-20. Over four years, the federal expansion grant plan will enable 1,548 more four-year-olds to be enrolled in new State Pre-K slots than would have been possible without the federal grant.

Visit the Federal Preschool Development Grants Website

This project was made possible by grant number 90TP0058-02-00. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.