Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to COVID-19, this information is subject to change.
Please visit our COVID-19 page or call MECK Pre-K at 704-943-9585 for the latest information.


MECK Pre-K is continuing to serve our families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit COVID-19 Information Page for the latest news about MECK Pre-K and COVID-19.

What is MECK Pre-K?

MECK Pre-K is a Mecklenburg County-funded program that offers free, quality pre-kindergarten to Mecklenburg County’s four-year-old children. It is administered through Smart Start of Mecklenburg County.

Why should I register my child for MECK Pre-K?

Decades of research have shown that pre-kindergarten makes a difference in the school readiness of children. Not just in the short-term to get children ready to succeed in school, but in the long-term as children grow up, become employed, and contribute to the strength of the economy. Your child will learn skills in the following areas: social emotional, creative arts, scientific thinking, social studies, and technology.

Is my child eligible for MECK Pre-K?

To be eligible for MECK Pre-K, children must live in Mecklenburg County and turn four years old on or before August 31 of the school year they are applying for. Priority will be given to families who earn at or below 400% of the federal poverty level, but families at all income levels are encouraged to apply. If you have applied for and/or been waitlisted for childcare subsidy or other pre-kindergarten programs, you may be eligible for MECK Pre-K.

Are there considerations for military families?

Children of military families may receive priority during the enrollment process. Families can indicate military status on their child’s application. Documentation of military status is required.

Qualifying military status includes:

Children of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the North Carolina National Guard, State military forces, or a reserve component of the Armed Forces who was ordered to active duty by the proper authority within the last 18 months or is expected to be ordered within the next 18 months.

Children of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the North Carolina National Guard, State military forces, or a reserve component of the Armed Forces who was injured or killed while serving on active duty

How do I apply for MECK Pre-K?

You can apply by visiting our online application on a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can also visit our Enrollment Page for details on the process. If you are unable to apply online, email or call 704-943-9585 to request an application be sent by mail.

Where are the classrooms located?

MECK PreK programs are located in high-quality four- and five-star child care centers throughout Mecklenburg County. Visit our Locations Page for a list of current locations or contact our office to receive a list by mail.

Will transportation be provided for my child? If so, how does that process work?

Some sites provide transportation for a nominal fee. Please visit our online application where you can search for locations with transportation. Every effort is made to place children in the MECK Pre-K program location requested by the family.

When does the school year start?

MECK Pre-K traditionally starts in September using a staggered entry schedule.

Are there after-school care options for MECK Pre-K?

MECK PreK is free of charge. There may be fees for any care before or after school hours. Please visit our online application where you can search for locations with after-school care.

When will I be notified that my child has been accepted?

MECK Pre-K will begin processing your application as soon as all required documents are completed and submitted. We will notify you as soon as we have confirmed your child’s eligibility. You can check the status of your application by logging into your online application or by emailing or calling 704-943-9585.

Do I have to pay for my child to attend?

MECK Pre-K is offered free of charge and is fully funded by Mecklenburg County. As mentioned above, there may be fees for before-or-after-care and transportation if available.

What does a typical day look like?

MECK Pre-K is a 6.5 hours per day program. Schedules for each classroom vary, but many include the following: small groups, outside time, snack time, story time, lunch, quiet time and learning through songs, word play and letters.

What kind of training do MECK Pre-K teachers have?

MECK Pre-K teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in early childhood, child development, or related field and have a BK (birth through kindergarten) license or be working toward BK license.

MECK Pre-K teacher assistants must have or be working towards a minimum of an associate’s degree in early childhood education or child development.

How many children and teachers are in each classroom?

The maximum number of children in a MECK Pre-K classroom is 18. Each class is taught by one teacher and one teacher assistant.

Please note that classroom size may be reduced due to COVID-19. Please visit our COVID-19 Page for more information.