Prepare your child for success! Prekindergarten (Pre-K) gets your child ready for school with a strong foundation for learning now. 

The Salem Public Schools pre-kindergarten program offers comprehensive programming for the youngest of learners. Research shows children who attend SPS preschool are more prepared for kindergarten in the areas of early math, reading, and social-emotional development.

If your child will be four years old on or before August 31st, your family is eligible to apply for FREE high- quality pre-kindergarten instruction.

Pre-Kindergarten enrollment space is limited. Submit your application to be entered in the Pre-K Lottery, for more information on the lottery dates, visit this link.

SPS Schools with Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Our Pre-K programs are currently housed in three of our district schools: Bates Elementary, Horace Mann Laboratory School, and the Early Childhood Center and follow the same schedule as the host school. Students will build academic, cognitive, social-emotional, self-help, and physical skills through play-based learning.

Introducing: Three Cheers for Pre-K Curriculum

We have recently implemented Three Cheers for Pre-K in our preschool classrooms. This is a comprehensive Pre-K curriculum resource that helps young children get ready for kindergarten. Skills-based experiences and purposeful play initiate learning around quality children’s literature. Children learn literacy and numeracy skills as well as information about the world around them through science and social studies activities. Thoughtfully planned activities support each child’s social and emotional well-being, physical growth, and academic readiness.

The resource includes multi-sensory activities and interactive digital content. A Family Engagement web portal includes learning games and helpful tools for parents and caregivers. A partnership with Unite for Literacy builds literacy skills and supports family engagement. Parents have access to a digital library that includes fully narrated books in English, Spanish, and many other languages.

Early Education Partnership Program

Early childhood education has long been a commitment in our district. The Early Childhood Center is a jewel in our crown and serves our youngest students to prepare them to thrive in elementary school. We are excited to showcase the expansion of our early childhood offerings and the Salem Early Education Partnership Program.

The Salem Early Education Partnership Program is intended to expand access to and alignment of early childhood programs in Salem through partnerships between the Salem Public School district and participating early childhood centers in Salem licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The Salem Early Education Partnership will focus on strengthening access for universal Pre-K in the City of Salem for 4-year-olds.

The partnership allows the Salem Public Schools and participating early childhood centers in the city to formalize their relationships and work collaboratively to:

  • Improve and align program quality across the city,
  • Increase access to high-quality programs particularly for low-income families, and
  • Ensure all families have the knowledge and access to early childhood resources.

Research shows that access to high-quality early childhood programs not only prepares children for kindergarten but creates a strong foundation for long-term academic and personal success. Salem Public Schools is committed to creating greater access to full-day preschool seats for families seeking this type of programming for their child.

Salem Public Schools is excited to announce that in the fall of 2021 we:
– Expanded the hours of two of our existing pre-k classrooms at the Early Childhood Center (full day, five days per week schedule),
– Opened four new pre-k classrooms within SPS, and
– Partnered with four pre-k classrooms across the city to align program quality and curriculum.

Seats are filled by lottery. Entering the lottery does not ensure a preschool spot. If you speak a language other than English or Spanish, please call The Parent Information Center for assistance at: (978)-740-1225.

When SPS preschool lotteries take place, you will be contacted by our outreach specialists to discuss your needs and other preschool options across Salem in order to find the best fit for your child. Families not receiving a seat through the lottery process will be placed on a waiting list.

If you have questions please call or send an email to the Parent Information Center


How do I enroll my child in the Salem Public Schools PreK Program?

Enrollment is a four-step process:

  • Step 1:  Complete all forms and required documents in the registration packet. Turn it in to the Parent Information Center (PIC).
    Your child will be entered into the lottery at this time. 
  • Step 2:  The PIC will complete the lottery process and assign your child to a school based upon the results of this process. 
  • Step 3:   Upon selection from the lottery, notification will be provided to you of your child’s assignment. At this time you can  confirm acceptance of the assignment by sending the confirmation form back to the Parent Information Center.

Return completed forms and documents to the Parent Information Center (PIC) – in person by calling (978) 740-1225 to make an appointment, via fax (978) 740-1176, or scan and email to

Does every elementary school have PreK classes?

Only three of our schools have pre-kindergarten classrooms:

  • Bates Elementary School (PreK-5)

    Principal: Gavin Softic 

    53 Liberty Hill Avenue — 978-740-1250

  • Early Childhood Center 

    Principal: Leanne Smith

    25 Memorial Drive — 978-740-1181

  • Horace Mann Laboratory School (PreK-5)

    Interim Principal: Scarlett Grandt 

    79 Wilson Street — 978-740-1290

How old does my child need to be to enter the PreK Lottery?

Your child must turn 4 years of age on or before August 31, 2022 to be eligible for PreK Lottery for the 2022-2023 School Year 

If my child is selected in the PreK Lottery, is transportation available?

No, the Salem Public Schools does not offer transportation for pre-kindergarten students, unless Special Education Individualized Education Plans call for it. 

If my child is selected in the PreK Lottery, are there before and after school care options?

Currently, we do not have either before or after school programs, but this is an area the Salem Public Schools is exploring. 

What if I have a voucher for full-day childcare?

Salem Public Schools Pre-Kindergarten is free, however, we follow the K-12 schedule which does not include wrap-around services such as: before or after school care, school vacation care, or summer care. You can choose to enroll your child in our free pre-kindergarten program, however, you will lose your voucher for wrap around services. 

Does SPS have prekindergarten seats for everyone who wants one?

No. Currently, we do not have universal pre-k and as per School Committee guidance, pre-k seats are allocated so that  60% are filled by low-income families and 40% by non-low-income families. 

What happens if my child’s name is not pulled from the lottery?

Your child’s name will be added to a waitlist and should a seat become available, you will be contacted. We also provide support in exploring other community-based pre-kindergarten programs. 

If my child goes to pre-k within SPS, where will they go to kindergarten?

Your child will participate in the regular kindergarten enrollment process through the Parent Information Center.