Universal Prekindergarten Program Requirements

This page contains a list of prequalified prekindergarten providers, as well as the requirements, rules and resources needed to maintain compliance as a prekindergarten education program in Vermont.

A prequalified prekindergarten education program is a public or private program that meets quality criteria set forth in the Act 166 administrative rules.

List of Prequalified Prekindergarten Providers

2023-2024 Public and Private Prekindergarten Providers List and Prequalification Status - This list is updated on a monthly basis as applications are processed. Updated prequalification status, along with detailed program profiles, can also be found on the Bright Futures Information Systems.

Update Your Prequalification Information

Please complete the Changes to Prequalified Program form if you are an approved program and the information reported in your original application has changed. The Agency of Education will use it to verify and update your information. 

Administrative Rules

The administrative rules to establish and maintain a prequalified prekindergarten education program in Vermont are found in the Vermont State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices – Prekindergarten Education.

Vermont Agency of Education Offering Opportunity for Qualified Applicants to obtain Early Childhood Educator Provisional License

The Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators (VSBPE) has approved an Agency of Education (AOE) Early Childhood Educator or Early Childhood Special Educator (ECE/ECSE) provisional license specifically for qualifying individuals who are employed or contract with private prekindergarten (PreK) education programs. Private PreK programs must either be pursuing or maintaining current prequalification status under Universal Prekindergarten Education Law (Act 166).

Superintendent Provisional License

It is the preference of the VSBPE that all applicants for ECE/ECSE provisional licenses work first with the local SU/SD superintendent to build relationships across settings and to support the youth in their shared community. However, circumstances may arise where a Superintendent is unable to endorse a request for a provisional license and an alternative route is necessary.

Superintendents, at their discretion, may approve a provisional license for a private prekindergarten program individual. If a superintendent wishes to submit a provisional application on behalf of a private program individual, the VSBPE Licensing Rules Governing the Licensing of Educators criteria and procedures for temporary licenses (Rules 5351-5356) are applicable. A superintendent denial for a provisional license is required evidence for applying for an AOE ECE/ECSE provisional license

Beginning June 1st, 2021, the Vermont Agency of Education - Early Education Team will accept ECE/ECSE provisional license applicant requests on a first come, first serve basis from candidates that work or contract with private prekindergarten programs. The first step is to review the AOE Early Childhood Educator Provisional License qualifications to determine if you or another individual in your private PreK program may be a possible candidate. Second step is to complete the Act 166 Universal Prekindergarten Changes to Prequalified Program Form.

Standards, Assessment and Evaluation

Vermont Early Learning Standards

The Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) help inform families about the development and capabilities of children from birth through grade 3 and guide educators in the development and selection of program-wide curriculum and educational strategies for children from birth through grade 3. These standards are central to the shared vision of what we want for young children in Vermont and highlight the importance of high quality early childhood experiences as the foundation for school success and lifelong learning.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE): Supporting Students with Diverse Abilities

Early Childhood Special Education Services (ECSES)  support children ages 3 to 6 years. Local school districts administer ECSES to ensure access and participation for every child who is eligible for services.

ECSES enables young children with disabilities to be full participants in everyday routines and activities, whether at home with their families, in their communities, in child care or in school programs.

Student Assessment: Teaching Strategies GOLD

All publicly-funded prekindergarten programs must use the online Teaching Strategies GOLD child assessment to report on the progress of their students on an annual basis.

STARS Revision Period

STARS is Vermont’s quality recognition system for child care, prekindergarten and afterschool programs. Programs that participate in STARS go above and beyond state regulations to serve the needs of children and families. 

The Agency of Human Services Child Development Division’s (CDD) STARS revision period will run from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. During that period, CDD will continue to work with all child care program types who wish to increase their STARS level. UPK prequalified programs or programs who would like to become UPK prequalified, must have a minimum rating of 3 STARS with an approved STARS Plan. For compliance with Act 166, UPK prequalified programs, must:

  • Maintain their current STARS level,
  • Meet STAR renewal date and
  • Fulfill STARS Plan by expiration date

by submission of an application and/or requesting an assessment during the revision period. For STARS-related questions, please contact CDD at STARS@vermont.gov or 1-800-649-2642, option 8.

Data Collections

2022 Universal PreK Education Desk Monitoring Assurance Report Submission

As a prequalified universal prekindergarten education program, you are required to submit an assurance report to the Vermont Agency of Education to maintain your current prequalification status. Beginning May 2022, this data collection will be required on a three-year cycle in order for the state to verify that your public/private program remains in compliance with Act 166 requirements of prequalified prekindergarten education programs. Submission window for UPK Desk Monitoring Assurance Report is between May 23, 2022 through June 17, 2022.

Please follow the steps below to complete the UPK Annual Assurance Form.

Step 1: The AOE has developed a Prequalified PreK Desk Monitoring Assurance Report Guidance Checklist. This readiness checklist will assist you in preparing to complete the annual assurance form on-line.

Step 2: Complete the on-line UPK Desk Monitoring Assurance Report. Please note: If your program has multiple programs, complete a separate application for EACH program.

If you require assistance please send email michele.johnson@vermont.gov.

UPK Suspension and Expulsion

Act 35 of 2021, An act relating to the Task Force on Equitable and Inclusive School Environments, prohibits the suspension or expulsion of students under age 8 unless the student poses an imminent threat of harm or danger to others in the school. 

This joint agency memo is intended to inform prequalified public and private Universal Prekindergarten Education (UPK) programs of the updated requirements that must be adhered to, effective June 1, 2022, as required by Act 35 of 2021 and Act 166 of 2022. The new laws disallow suspension and/or expulsion of any child under the age of eight in prequalified public and private UPK programs.

To meet obligations related to Universal Prekindergarten Education (UPK) Suspension and Expulsion data collection, a public and private UPK program must complete this incident report for each student who is suspended or expelled. Within 5 school calendar days from the date of incident, the public or private UPK program must submit this report to the child's school district of residence and the Agency of Education UPK Accountability and Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Leslie Freedman at leslie.freedman@vermont.gov

Enrollment and Other Student Data Collection

The Agency of Education requires all public school districts to report student enrollment and other student data in the Agency’s VT Student Census platform for each child enrolled in the town’s or district’s educational programs, including UPK and early education programs.

Memo to Business Managers and PreK Providers: Household Income Form Data Collection

Memo to Superintendents, Principals, PreK Coordinators and Technology Leads: Prekindergarten Data Requirements

Establishing Prekindergarten Regions

Act 166 provides for the establishment of geographic limitations or “Prekindergarten Regions” in which a school board may choose to limit the geographic area within which it will pay tuition for prekindergarten education. Please contact Kate Rogers for the most recent Prekindergarten Education Region Application.

List of Approved Regions