Pre-K Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is MECK Pre-K?

MECK Pre-K is high quality free pre-K education open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Classrooms are located in licensed child care centers and taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified assistant teachers. MECK Pre-K is administered by Smart-Start of Mecklenburg County and funded by Mecklenburg County.

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

Decades of research have shown that pre-K makes a difference in the lives of children and their families. The foundation created in a high quality pre-K program prepares children for the demands of life — not just in the short-term as they succeed in school, but also in the long-term as they grow up, become employed, and contribute to the strength of the community.

Your child will experience growth in the following areas: mathematical and scientific thinking, the joy of learning, social and emotional skills, and language and literacy abilities.

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. Even if you have applied for and/or been waitlisted for child care subsidy or other pre-kindergarten programs, you are eligible for MECK Pre-K.

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 schedule an appointment to apply in person.

Where are the classrooms located?

MECK Pre–K programs are located in high quality licensed 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.

Can my child be placed in a classroom near my home or work?

Every effort is made to place children in the MECK Pre-K location requested by the family. Please visit our online application where you can search for locations near your home or work.

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

Some locations provide transportation for a nominal fee. Please visit our online application where you can search for locations with transportation.

When does the school year start?

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

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

Some locations offer before-school and after-school care. Please visit our online application where you can search for locations with before- and after-school care. MECK Pre–K is free of charge, but there may be fees for any care before or after school. Child care subsidy vouchers can be used to pay for before and after 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 contacting MECK Pre-K.

Do I have to pay for my child to attend?

MECK Pre-K is free and is fully funded by Mecklenburg County. As mentioned above, there may be fees for before- or after-care and transportation if available. Child care subsidy vouchers can be used to pay for before and after care.

What does a typical day look like?

MECK Pre-K is a 6.5 hours per day program. Schedules for each classroom vary but will include the following: teacher-led small groups to work on specific skills, intentionally designed learning centers that children can choose from, outside physical play, snack time, story times, lunch, quiet time and large group learning through songs, word play and games.

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 a 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. Interested in teaching for MECK Pre-K? Visit our Teacher Page.

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 assistant teacher.

How is MECK Pre-K addressing COVID-19?

MECK Pre-K takes the health of our students and families, as well as that of our teachers and center staff, very seriously. We have health and safety protocols in place in our classrooms, centers and offices. To learn more, visit our Health & Safety Page

MECK Pre-K Contact Information


601 E. 5th Street, Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28202

Printable MECK Pre-K Handouts and Graphics