Welcome to Polk County Schools Preschool Program

Applications are now begin accepted for the 2019-2020 school year.

How to apply:
Children who will be 3 or 4 years of age by August 31st are encouraged to apply for the preschool program.  Children may be eligible as fee-paying or may qualify for our Head Start or NC PreK programs at no cost.  Limited transportation options will be available.  Applications can be downloaded and printed from this website, but cannot be electronically submitted.  Applications are also available at each of the elementary schools, Stearns Education Center in Columbus, the Polk County Health Department, and at Polk County DSS.

The preschool application has three parts.  
  1. Letter to Parents - explaining the preschool program and the documents parents will need to provide before enrollment.
  2. Application - this is the application form that will need to be completed for each child.
  3. Permission Form - this form provides basic information about emergency contacts, medical care and unique custody concerns.
              Use the links below to download and print the forms in either English or Spanish.  If you have any questions, please contact our preschool program at:  828-894-3051.
              Applicants must also have a Health Assessment before school starts.


Our Program


Polk County Schools operates model preschool programs at each of its four elementary schools, offering students in each of our communities the opportunity for a wonderful educational beginning.

Because we know children develop at their own developmental level and learn through playing in their environment, we encourage the educational approach of active learning. Through the use of the research-based High Scope curriculum, teachers allow children to initiate active learning experiences in their area of interest.  Children learn by doing, by working with hands-on materials and carrying out projects of their own choosing.  The High Scope approach encompasses all aspects of a child's emerging intellectual, physical, social and emotional skills and abilities.  Services are also available for children with special needs such as speech and developmental disabilities.  We follow stringent Head Start Performance standards and NC PreK guidelines.  All of our teachers are certified by North Carolina to teach preschool.

 Our preschool program offers comprehensive family support services. Our staff includes individuals with experience in family support services, health-related services and child development. An interpreter is available to assist our Spanish- speaking families. Please contact us with questions about our program or the application/enrollment process at (828)894-3051



In partnership with families and communities, the goal of the Polk County Schools Pre-Kindergarten program is to provide children with a high-quality, developmentally appropriate, early childhood experience that leads to a positive educational start.  Children are placed in a blended classroom by qualifying for Head Start, NC PreK, Exceptional Children's Program, or by fee payment.  For children in need of bus transportation, this service will be provided.


Parent Involvement


We believe children's first and most important teachers are their parents.  It is our goal to work as closely as possible with all parents and caregivers of our students.  A child has the best chance of achieving in all areas of development when there is good communication between the parent and other adults who help in the child's care.  Home visits and parent-teacher conferences allow this communication to take place.  All families will receive home visits and/or conferences with their child's teacher.  These may be requested by the teacher or the parent(s).  Parents are encouraged to visit their child's classroom often to observe our program, and to volunteer. Parent meetings and family activities will also be offered by the individual schools and by the program.  Teachers will communicate with families with a regular class newsletter.

Parent Resources


School Readiness


Head Start defines school readiness as children possessing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and for later learning and life. The Head Start approach to school readiness means that children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning, and schools are ready for children (NCQTL/ECKLC).  The philosophy of our preschool program is to provide children with a high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood experience that leads to a positive educational start.  This will be done in partnership with families and communities. To review our School Readiness Goals for all students, please use the link below.

School Readiness Goals

Program Plans

Listed below are links to our program plans, goals and Annual Report.  These are required as part of our Head Start grant.

NCPreK Committee

Polk Board of Education Head Start Program Goals Grant Cycle 2015-2020


Media Releases

Notice of Annual Preschool Meeting our next meeting will be held in

April of 2019

 2017-2018 Head Start Annual Report for Polk County Schools

 Child and Adult Care Food Program Media Release






Polk County School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities.  The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Rachael Haynes-Wood, Personnel Department

Polk County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  If you have questions or concerns regarding the accessibility of the website or if you are unable to access a page or document on the website, you may contact Dave Scherping via email at or by phone at 828-894-3051.