Frequently Asked Questions
- 90% of a child’s brain is already developed by age six (Buffet Early Childhood Institute)
- Children who wait until kindergarten to start school are twice as likely to be behind and three times less likely to be able to read by third grade.
- The cornerstone of the pre-K curriculum is learning through play. Children will learn early reading, math and science skills through hands-on activities and play.
- Pre-K does more than build children academically. Children develop social and emotional skills to help them thrive as a whole person. Children who attend pre-K have more verbal skills and self-control and can build relationships with other children better than those who do not attend.
When you walk into a pre-K classroom at any Arlington ISD school, you are going to find busy little people …
- playing in engaging centers that include math, science, reading, writing, fine arts and dramatic play
- learning to recognize numbers and shapes and learning to count
- learning the alphabet and phonics to increase oral language, communication and vocabulary
- mastering letter recognition and working on written expression
- pretending to cook and playing with play dough
- spending one-on-one time with the teacher
- enjoying recess and outside time with friends
- learning about calendars, dates and weather
- singing, listening to music and doing drama and plays
- exercising with music
- exploring in outdoor learning environments
- creating through art, such as coloring, painting and more
- learning to use scissors and how to hold a pencil
- beginning writing
- learning how to use technology.
Arlington ISD follows the Texas Education Agency’s Pre-K Guidelines. Our comprehensive early childhood instructional model is enriched by using a research-based program that integrates instruction across developmental domains and early learning disciplines. In our Pre-K 3 program, children build a strong foundation in social-emotional learning and pre-academic skills with positive early experiences to develop the skills that prepare them for Pre-K 4. Arlington ISD’s high-quality pre-K instructional framework inspires curiosity, builds confidence and kindergarten readiness. Our early childhood certified teachers are committed to providing daily meaningful learning experiences for all students.
Our curriculum meets the needs of all learners, including English Language Learners and children with special needs, through thoughtfully planned activities for active exploration and differentiated instruction. Students will have fun while developing the following domains:
- Social and Emotional Development
- Emergent Literacy: Language and Communication
- Emergent Literacy: Reading
- Emergent Literacy: Writing
- Social Studies
- Fine Arts
- Physical Development
To learn more about the pre-K guidelines, visit the Texas Education Agency's Pre-K website.
Most Arlington ISD pre-K 3 classes are half-day. Full-day free pre-K 3 is only offered through the Arlington ISD Head Start PLUS program at Kooken Education Center.
Our Arlington ISD Community Based Programs offer a half-day pre-K for three-year-olds combined with full-day child care.
To be eligible for enrollment in a pre-K 3 program, a child must be at least 3 years of age on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year.
The documents considered acceptable for proof of identification and age are:
- Birth certificate,
- Statement of the child's date of birth issued by the division of the Texas Department of State Health Services responsible for vital statistics for school admission purposes,
- School ID card, records or report card,
- Military ID,
- Hospital birth record,
- Adoption records,
- Church baptismal record or
- Any other legal document that establishes identity and age.
Children who turn 3 on or before Sept. 1 and meet certain federal eligibility requirements can attend Arlington ISD’s half-day pre-K 3 for free.
For children who meet the age requirement but not the federal guidelines, Arlington ISD offers tuition-based pre-K 3 at some locations.
To be eligible for enrollment in a free pre-K 3 class, a child must be at least three years of age on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year and meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements:
- unable to speak and comprehend the English language,
- is educationally disadvantaged (eligible to participate in the national school lunch program – guidelines about NSLP eligibility can be found in sections 4 and 6 of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Administrators Reference Manual),
- is homeless, as defined by 42 USC, §11434a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child's guardian or other person having lawful control of the child,
- is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority,
- is the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty,
- is or has ever been in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (foster care) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Family Code §262.201or has been in foster care in another state or territory, but currently lives in Texas,
- is the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as: a peace officer under Texas Government Code §3106.002, a firefighter under Texas Government Code §3106.003, an emergency medical first responder under Texas Government Code §3106.004.
To learn more about eligibility, visit Early Childhood Education FAQs.
A district must verify a student’s eligibility for pre-K in order to receive funding for the pre-K program. Districts must have the verification document as well as any required documentation on file for their records.
For students who do not meet the federal guidelines, Arlington ISD has the option of a pre-K 3 tuition-based program at specific locations. For more information, visit our pre-K programs page.
Registration for the current school year, 2022-2023, is open. Online registration begins April 3, 2023, to register for the 2023-2024 school year.
- Student’s birth certificate
- Photo ID of parent / guardian (driver's license, state or international ID, passport)
- Proof of address (current gas, water or electricity bill or the lease / mortgage agreement in the name of the parent / guardian)
- Each of the following documents that apply:
- Proof of Income--Last 30 days for all adults living in the household (paystub, Medicaid, disability, worker comp)
- SNAP/TANF benefits letter
- Current tax return (if self-employed)
- Proof of military service for active duty military parent(s)
- Foster care documents
- Star of Texas Award certificate or letter
- Immunization Records
- Social Security Card (if available)
*Any student who has a language other than English listed on his/her Home Language Survey will be contacted by a school district staff member to complete additional qualification steps.
A three-year-old student who qualifies for free pre-K 3 can register at any Arlington ISD school or Arlington ISD Pre-K Early Learning Partner Center that offers pre-K 3. Arlington ISD pre-K 3 registration is based on a "first come, first served” model. Students who live in the Arlington ISD and meet federal eligibility guidelines will have priority in the registration process.
Arlington ISD welcomes students who reside outside our district boundaries. However, school enrollment may be limited to space availability. Enrollment priority is given to pre-K students who qualify under the federal guidelines and students who reside in Arlington ISD's boundaries.
Yes. Arlington ISD offers pre-K bilingual classes for 3-year-old students at select elementary schools. For a full list of schools offering pre-K bilingual services, please click here.
Pre-K students attend classes for half-days Monday-Friday.
Normal Release Hours
Early Release Hours
AM Pre-K 3 Half-Day
8:10 AM - 11:20 AM
8:10 AM - 10:10 AM
PM Pre-K 3 Half-Day
12:25 PM - 3:35 PM
10:10 AM - 12:10 PM
The minutes required for a half-day program is 32,400 instructional minutes. The total includes recess, meals and intermission, but excludes rest time.
The maximum number of students in a half-day pre-K 3 class (AM or PM) or a Head Start full-day pre-K 3 class is 17. A teacher certified in early childhood education and one teaching assistant will support each classroom.
Pre-K students are expected to attend school and follow the Arlington ISD school district calendar as part of the Compulsory Attendance Law.
Half-day pre-K 3 students do not have a nap/rest time.
Please contact your neighborhood school for more information and options.
No, transportation is not available for pre-K 3 students. However, transportation is provided to eligible pre-K 4 student riders, preferably with an older eligible sibling. For more eligibility information, please visit the Arlington ISD transportation website.
Pre-K students are offered school meals that comply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) nutrition guidelines. For students to receive free or reduced-price meals for the 2022-2023 school year, they will need to:
- Complete a Meal Benefits Application and be approved for benefits through the National School Lunch Program. Apply here.
- Be Directly Certified by the state for meal benefits (SNAP, TANF, Medicaid)
- Attend a school operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).