Providing Houston's youngest learners with the best education requires beginning the learning process as early as possible. That’s why HISD began offering full-day free prekindergarten programs to all eligible children in 2005.
HISD offers prekindergarten on a tuition basis to students who do not meet the eligibility requirements to attend prekindergarten for free. Learn more about tuition-based prekindergarten here.
Schools are encouraged to enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis. Schools with an extensive waitlist may decide to admit eligible students by lottery. Magnet schools with Pre-K programs manage their enrollment via the magnet school application system.
To be eligible for enrollment in a district free prekindergarten program, a child must:
AND meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be four years of age on or before September 1 of a given school year. Beginning April 1, parents can complete and submit the 2019-2020 official prekindergarten application document to the school of their choice.
- Live within the boundaries of the Houston Independent School District
- Child is homeless
- Child unable to speak or understand English as determined by the Home Language Survey
- Child is economically disadvantaged
- Child of an active-duty member of the U.S. military or one who has been killed, injured, or missing in action while on active duty
- Child is or has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code
- Child meets any eligibility criteria for Head Start
- Child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer as defined in Section 3106.002, a firefighter as defined in Section 3106.003, or an emergency medical first responder as defined in Section 3106.004
- Ineligible four-year-old students must be placed on a waitlist until May 31, 2019. If seats are still available after enrollment of all eligible four-year-old students, the school may enroll ineligible four-year-olds as tuition-paying students. Tuition-paying students must reside within the boundaries of HISD
- Pre-K programs will hold 5% of Pre-K seats available for eligible students until August 26, 2019
To ensure all HISD students have accessibility to high-quality programming, Pre-K is not zoned in HISD. However, all parents seeking enrollment must complete a "Application for Out-of-District Student Transfer" form. The transfer application allows HISD to ensure all children are provided options for placement within the district.Intent to Apply: Intent to Apply documents can be used to apply before April 1, 2019. Beginning April 1, 2019, the official prekindergarten application is used. Please click here for the Intent to Apply Form. Note: Intent to apply forms must be replaced with the official Pre-K application as of April 1.Applications: Official prekindergarten applications for the 2019-2020 school year are available April 1, 2019. The applications below are the “official” prekindergarten applications that must be filled out to register for prekindergarten for the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents with children who will be 4 years of age on or before September 1, and meet other eligibility requirements can complete the 2019-2020 prekindergarten applications.
HISD policy on three-year-olds
HISD policy gives priority for enrollment in the prekindergarten program to eligible students who are at least four years of age on September 1, 2019. If additional space is available and there is no waiting list for eligible four-year-old students and non-eligible tuition-paying four-year-old students who reside in HISD, schools have the option of enrolling students who are 3 years of age on September 1, 2019 provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
- All three-year-olds are to be placed on a waitlist until May 31, 2019. After all eligible and ineligible four-year-old students have been enrolled, if there are available seats, schools may then enroll three-year-old students who qualify from the waitlist.
- It is recommended that a waitlist by birthdate be created for three-year-olds so that when enrolling students, they may be close in age and development to their classmates.
- Should a significant number of three-year-olds be enrolled, creating classes with predominantly three-year-olds is preferred over mixed-age classes.
- Schools enrolling three-year-olds must receive permission in advance from the School Office and the Early Childhood Department.
HISD Policy on Students of District Employees
District employees with 4 year-old children who live outside the district may bring their child to HISD provided their child meets one of the Pre-K eligibility requirements. An "Application for Out-of-District Student Transfer" form must be completed, signed by the receiving principal, and submitted to the Student Transfer Department. Non-qualifying 4 year-old children of district employees may be accommodated if all eligible four-year-old students have been enrolled. An ineligible child of an employee pays tuition.