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Lottery Now Open for State Pre-K Program

Lottery Now Open for State Pre-K Program

Free, High-Quality for Early Education Available for 1,080 Students

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), in partnership with Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Department of Human Services, announced today that the lottery for the Rhode Island Pre-Kindergarten Program is now open for the 2019-2020 school year. There are 60 State-Funded Pre-K classrooms in 11 communities, and parents and families must submit their applications by July 7, 2019, in order to be considered for one of the free, available seats.

“Pre-K is one of the most important investments we can make,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Kids who attend Pre-K are more likely to read at grade level, more likely to graduate high school, and more likely to get a good job. I’m proud that Rhode Island is a national leader in early childhood education, and I’m committed to ensuring that every family, regardless of zip code or income, has access to a high-quality Pre-K program.”

Funding for these 60 classrooms is dependent on budget approval from the General Assembly.

“In joining the team at RIDE, one of the things that really excited me about our portfolio is the national reputation for excellence that early learning programs in Rhode Island have established,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “A strong foundation is so important for our students, and that begins from birth and into quality Pre-K. Maintaining quality, with an eye towards increasing access for more Rhode Island children and families, must be a priority for our state if we want to improve student outcomes down the line.”

Adds Courtney E. Hawkins, Department of Human Services Director, “You shouldn’t have to be rich or lucky to get your child into high quality Pre-K. Every child deserves a shot at a bright future, and nothing prepares a child for their future better than high-quality education.”

In Governor Raimondo’s proposed budget, she requested additional funding to begin scaling up to universal Pre-K in Rhode Island. Her original proposal is to add 540 seats in the 2019-2020 school year. If that budget request is approved and RIDE can move forward in adding new seats, RIDE would open up another round of applications and conduct a second lottery in July.

Currently, State-Funded Pre-K is available in Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, and Woonsocket. 


  • East Bay Community Action Program Head Start (8 John Chafee Boulevard) – 2 classrooms

To be eligible, children must be 4 years old by September 1, 2019, and must reside within a community that hosts a Pre-K program. The State-Funded Pre-K is fully inclusive, supporting the learning and development needs of all children. Parents of English learners and students with disabilities are encouraged to enter the lottery.

State-Funded Pre-K programs were identified through a competitive process that evaluates the organization’s ability to provide a high-quality program. Earlier this year, Rhode Island was once again recognized as a national leader in quality pre-K by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

Families can apply for the 2019-20 Pre-Kindergarten Program online or can pick up an application at a program location. Completed applications should be returned to the program of choice. Families may apply for more than one site if multiple sites exist in their community of residence, but only one application per site will be accepted. Applications will be accepted through July 7.

Heidi Nordmann
401.367.2001 x204