• prek


    Don't wait until your child turns three to schedule a screening for Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K)! If your child is turning three or four years of age on or before September 1, 2020, it is time to schedule your Pre-K screening. Children who live in Decatur are eligible to be screened for FREE Pre-K programs offered by Decatur Public Schools in various settings. Having your child screened is the first step of the registration process!



    Call Pershing Early Learning Center (217)362.3300 to schedule a screening appointment. 

    The Basics: 

    • Pre-K is free. You do not have to pay to attend participating Pre-K programs.  
    • You must be a Decatur resident (two forms of residency verification required).
    • Students must be three or four years of age or turn five after September 1, 2020.
    • Half Day and Full Day programs are available.
    • Breakfast, lunch, and snack are provided for Full Day programs. Snack provided for Half Day programs.

    Pre-K Options: 
     Half Day Program   Full Day Program
      ~ Pershing Early Learning Center
      ~ Enterprise Elementary School
      ~ Richland Community College Campus
      ~ Southeast Learning Center
      ~ Richland Community College Campus

     Pre-Kindergarten Screening Checklist:

    In order to help facilitate the screening process, please have the following items with you when your student is screened.


    » Copy of Certified Birth Certificate

    » Proof of Residency

    » Proof of Income

    * If your child qualifies for the program, you will also be given registration paperwork to complete. 
      Pre-Kindergarten Health Checklist (for Parents/Guardians):


    » Medical/Physical Health Exam dated within one calendar year of the first day of school.

    » Immunizations as required by the Illinois Department of Public Health.


    Why Should Your Child Attend a Pre-K Program?

    Pre-K Programs are important because they create a foundation for your child's future success. Children who attend free, full day, high quality Pre-K build a strong foundation for reading and math, engage in science, learn to problem solve, and work together with peers.


    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q: What is the required documentation for registration?

    A. Proof of birth, proof of income, updated immunization records, (2) proofs of residency in Decatur and an updated physical. 

    Q: Do I have to wait for my child to turn three before I enroll in Pre-K?

    A: Students must be three at their screening; however, parents may call prior to the third birthday to schedule an appointment.

    Q: Is Pre-K available for students with disabilities?

    A: Yes! All of our Pre-K programs work to support, understand and meet the needs of every learner through high-quality instruction and access to additional supports. 

    Q: Does my child need to be potty-trained to enter Pre-K?

    A: NO! Your child does not need to be potty-trained to enter Pre-K. The staff will work with you and your child on creating strategies to reinforce potty-training.

    Q: Is Pre-K mandatory?

    A: Pre-K is not mandatory; however, learning standards in the state of Illinois start in Pre-K. The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards are aligned with the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Common Core Learning Standards. Children who miss Pre-K would miss a critical step in building the foundation for what is to come in Kindergarten and beyond. 

    In the early stages of life, children need to be exposed to reading and to books. They need to be talked to which helps increase their vocabulary. They need to interact with peers to develop social skills. Children that do not have these experiences risk entering kindergarten with social, behavior and academic deficits causing them to fall behind their peers; thus, widening the achievement gap. 


    Have Questions? Need Help?

    Call Pershing Early Learning Center (217) 362.3300 or stop by our offices at 2912 North University, 62526.