Are you ready to apply for preschool?
Enrolling your 3- or 4-year-old in a Chicago Early Learning preschool program is easy and open year-round. Follow these easy steps to get your child enrolled in preschool.
Explore Preschool Options
Find and compare Chicago Early Learning programs to find the right one for your child. Get Started!
Apply to Program
Narrow it down to your top five picks. Create an online account, fill out family information, and a child application to preschool sites. If your child qualifies for an offer, you will follow next steps to verify their placement.
Need help with completing your child’s early learning application? 🏁
From start to finish, this application walkthrough gives a step-by-step guide for families to secure their child’s seat for the Fall with confidence.
For CPS Site Offers: Verify placement through a Family Resource Center or directly at the school
Typically, within two weeks of receiving your offer you will be asked to bring proof of your family’s income, address, and your child’s birth certificate to the school where your child has been offered a seat. However, due to COVID-19 and new safety measures, you will be notified via email about next steps to verify. See below for more details about what documents you will provide.
For Community-Based Site Offers: Verify placement through your community-program location
Typically, within two weeks of receiving your offer, bring proof of your family’s income, address, and your child’s birth to your assigned community-based program location. However, due to COVID-19 and new safety measures, you will be notified via email about next steps to verify. See below for more details about what documents you will provide.
Enrollment at CPS-Program Location
Visit your child’s preschool to complete the enrollment process. The school may have more specific enrollment directions that they will communicate.
Enrollment at Community-Program Location
When you visit your child’s community-based site to verify your child’s offer, your site will communicate any additional expectations they have to complete the enrollment process.
Go to School!
If you have questions, please call our Chicago Early Learning Hotline: (312) 229-1690.
How will you verify your child's placement?
If your child is offered a preliminary preschool placement, you will receive an email with verification instructions.
Follow these three steps to verify your child's placement:
Step 1: Gather Documents
Proof of child's age
- Original birth certificate
Proof of Address
- Driver's License/ID card
- Utility bill
- Lease agreement/mortgage statement
- Current voter registration card
Proof of Income
- Current paystub
- SSI Letter
- Unemployment Letter/Stub
- Workers' compensation letter/stub
- Retirement or pension stub/letter
- Official child support letter
- Income verification form
Step 2: Bring and Verify Documents
If your child has a seat in a Community-based program, you will be notified about our new safety measures to bring your documents directly to the site which your child was assigned.
If your child has a seat in a CPS-based program, you will be notified about our new safety measures to bring your documents to a Family Resource Center or school where your child has been offered a seat.
Step 3: Bring your child on the first day of school.
Let the learning begin!
Note: If your family is in a temporary living situation, you are not required to present the documents listed above for verification. All schools must immediately enroll students in temporary living situations even if the student lacks health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, proof of residency, or any other documentation normally required for school enrollment.
Have you found the right program for your child?
The City of Chicago and its partners offer early learning programs at over 600 sites. Visit our search page to identify sites in areas near your home or work. The Chicago Early Learning Portal allows you to identify a program’s quality rating, schedule and ages served.
Need application support?
If you need additional support with your online application, have questions or need to make changes to your application please contact or Chicago Early Learning Support Hotline: (312) 229-1690