The Office of Early Childhood Education’s (OECE) mission is to provide all children and their families access to high-quality, equitable early learning experiences leading to success in elementary school and beyond.
We are committed to engaging children in experiences which support and respect the unique potential of each child through instructional best practices and meaningful family and community engagement.
The Chicago Early Learning website provides information about early childhood learning programs for Chicago children. The website also provides and accepts online applications.
Preschool programs are for children ages three to four. Chicago Early Learning is the application platform for preschool at some CPS elementary schools as well as at neighborhood sites through community-based early learning programs.
The City of Chicago and CPS are working towards providing all four-year-olds with universal, free, full-day pre-kindergarten.
Child Parent Centers
The Child Parent Center (CPC) program model provides enhanced family supports and services for children ages three to five. CPCs focus on the needs of the entire family and emphasize the importance of continuity from preschool through third grade. CPCs are located at 19 CPS elementary schools.
To be eligible for a CPC program, children must be three or four years old on or by September 1st of the school year in which they are entering. Four-year-old children are prioritized for full-day programs.
Apply to the CPC program at Chicago Early Learning.
Community Early Learning Programs
The Office of Early Childhood Education collaborates with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to provide child care services birth to five years old, and preschool programs for ages three and four, in communities across the city.
Apply to community early learning programs at Chicago Early Learning.
Magnet Pre-K Programs
CPS offers three magnet pre-K programs: Drummond Montessori, Suder Montessori, and Inter-American (four-year-olds only). The pre-K programs at these schools feed directly into the school’s kindergarten. Students do not have to submit an application in order to attend kindergarten at the school where they are enrolled for pre-K.
For information about a specific Magnet Pre-K school, use the School Info Map to search for the school profile.
Apply for CPS Magnet Pre-K programs at GoCPS.
You can download a paper application on GoCPS or request a paper application through the Office of Access and Enrollment.
Children who turn five on or before September 1 of the current school year are eligible for enrollment in kindergarten.
Children who turn five between September 2 and December 31 are eligible to apply for early entrance to kindergarten for the following school year.
Apply for kindergarten on GoCPS.
Additional Contact Information
Chicago Early Learning Hotline
CPS Colman Office
(Chicago Early Learning Application Office)
4655 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60609
Community Partnership Programs
Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS)
1615 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622