Title I, Part A: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

Early Learning

Title I Preschool Programs

Eligible Children

A preschool-age child is one who is below the grade level at which the LEA provides a free public elementary education. For the purpose of Title I, children from birth to the age that the LEA provides free public elementary education.  Certain children are deemed automatically eligible to participate in a Title I preschool program, including:

  • Children who participated in Head Start, received services supported by the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants program within Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) (formerly known as Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program), or attended a Title I preschool program at any time in the prior two years;
  • Children who received services under Title I, Part C (migrant education) in the prior two years;
  • Preschool-aged children experiencing homelessness; and
  • Children who are in a local institution or attending a community day program for neglected or delinquent children and youth (ESEA section 1115(c)(2)).

Additional students eligible to participate include,

  • Children who live in the attendance area of Title I schools operating schoolwide programs for eligible for preschool services.
  • To be eligible to attend a Title I preschool in a targeted assistance school, preschool-aged children must be failing or most at risk of failing to meet the state’s challenging student academic achievement standards as determined by >multiple, educationally related, objective criteria established by the district and supplemented by the school or who participate in a Head Start or Migrant Educational Program.

Why implement Title I preschool programs?

Title I preschool programs are intended to assist children most at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging academic standards based on multiple, educationally related, objective criteria. Title I funds can be used to create or enhance existing preschool programs to prepare children to enter elementary school with the social, emotional, language, cognitive, and early reading skills they need to succeed. Providing high-quality early childhood experiences helps to ensure that children in Title I schools and programs have the foundation to meet challenging state academic achievement standards and experience success throughout elementary and secondary school.

Based on non-regulatory guidance that has been released by the United States Department of Education, a National Center for Education Statistics longitudinal study shows that children from low-income families who attended center-based preschool programs in the year before kindergarten earned higher scores at the beginning of kindergarten on math, reading, cognitive flexibility, and for approaches to learning than their peers who did not participate in an early learning program the year before starting kindergarten.

Ways of Using Title I Funds to Create New Title I Preschool Programs

  • Reaching families and children at risk before they enter elementary school.
  • Providing high-quality early childhood programs with sufficient instructional time to impact children who are at-risk of academic failure.
  • Giving teachers the skills necessary to work with young children at risk of school failure.
  • Creating programs to build strong school-parent relationships that ensure student success in elementary school and beyond.
  • Preparing low-income and disadvantaged children to enter kindergarten and to improve transitions into the LEA or elementary school that enrolls children.

Ways of Using Title I Funds to Expand and Supplement Existing Preschool Programs

Expand or Supplement Head Start

  • Using Title I funds to serve children who cannot be served through Head Start due to a lack of capacity.
  • Providing services to Title I-eligible children who are not eligible for Head Start.
  • Providing additional services to children in Head Start who are also eligible for Title I services by:
    • Extending the daily program to a full-day;
    • Increasing the numbers of instructional days;
    • Providing services at times when Head Start is not operating;
    • Enriching services through the provision of extra personnel to work with Title I-eligible children in Head Start classrooms
    • Increasing the number of home visits to students most at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging academic standards.

Expand or Supplement Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK)

  • Providing additional services to children in VPK classrooms who are also eligible for Title I services by:
    • Extending the daily voluntary prekindergarten program to provide full-day instruction for VPK children who are also Title I eligible;
    • Increasing the numbers of instructional days;
    • Providing services at times when VPK is not operating;
    • Enriching services through the provision of extra personnel to work with Title I-eligible children in VPK classrooms;
    • Increasing the number of home visits to students most at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging academic standards.
  • Providing professional development that includes:
    • Training on the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (2017);
    • Strategies to maximize instructional time through effective classroom  management;
    • Literacy training;
    • Language and vocabulary development; and
    • Supporting a culturally diverse classroom environment.
  • Providing opportunities for ongoing training and parental involvement to reinforce classroom instruction.

Title I Preschool Programs

Transition to Kindergarten

Districts must have a plan for coordinating, collaborating, and integrating the Title I preschool program with other early childhood educational services to support families and successfully transition children into kindergarten. Based on studies completed by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL), in collaboration with the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE):

“Smooth transitions from preschool to kindergarten depend on connections made between participants in the process, such as those between schools and families, and between preschool and kindergarten teachers and classrooms, especially connections made prior to kindergarten entry. Aligning preschool and kindergarten practices, standards, curricula, and assessments is an important element for promoting successful transitions.”

Examples of transition-related activities may include:

  • Sharing assessment data;
  • Promoting summer learning programs;
  • Engaging families;
  • Implementing joint professional development opportunities that involve both community-based.

Preschool Children in Foster Care

Public schools offering preschool education must meet the Title I requirements for children in foster care, including ensuring that the child(ren) remain in his or her preschool of origin unless a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest. Districts must coordinate services to ensure that children in foster care may access early educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start and Early Head Start, home visiting, and preschool programs administered by the district. Students in foster care may not be separated from the mainstream school environment because of foster care placement. Additionally, Title I supports the needs of children who are homeless by expanding the use of funds reserved for homeless children and youths to encompass all children who are homeless, not just those in non-Title I schools.

Examples of allowable services supporting children in foster care may include:

  • Transportation
  • Referrals for medical services
  • Afterschool programs
  • Mentoring
  • School supplies
  • Support staff for the homeless liaison

Other Preschool Programs

Additional Resources

Early Learning Overview (PDF)

Non-Regulatory Guidance for Early Learning (PDF)

Transition to Kindergarten (Office of Early Learning)

A collection of resources to assist families, schools, and communities in planning for the successful transition to kindergarten.

National Association for the Education of Young Children

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

Reddy Freddy – Pathways to Kindergarten Success

A variety of transition materials ranging from planning guides to outreach, attendance, and family engagement toolkits.

Head Start – Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

A variety of videos and written resources for families, preschool, and elementary programs to use when coordinating transition efforts.

Early Learning Contacts

Jacqueline Hill
Title I, Part A Early Learning
Phone: 850-245-0845

Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK)

Florida Department of Education
Office of Early Learning
250 Marriott Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: 866-357-3239