Charlottesville, Albemarle preschool, early intervention programs plan for virtual start
Charlottesville-Albemarle area early intervention and free public preschool programs will look different for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
In September, most public preschool programs will begin virtually in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area school systems. While the learning opportunities may seem different at the start, the staff responsible has spent the summer developing a comprehensive, high-quality preschool experience and family support network for children and their families.
“Our teachers and family coordinators have spent the summer preparing and planning for an at-home start to the school year,” says Carol Fox, Bright Stars program coordinator. “It will surely feel different than in past years, but we vow to provide our students the quality curriculum we’ve prided ourselves on for years. These programs will continue to provide significant family engagement and support that is the hallmark of these early intervention preschool programs, which may be even more essential during this time.”
In addition to changes in curriculum delivery, adjustments have been made to the household income criteria in response to the impact COVID-19 has had on families. Local eligibility now allows for an income of 350% of the federal poverty guidelines, if the family has been affected by COVID-19.
These income thresholds are on a sliding scale dependent upon family size. For example, a household income limit for a family of four would be approximately $90,000.
Job loss, sickness, employment as an essential worker, and children impacted emotionally or behaviorally by COVID-19 are also factors currently taken into consideration during the application process. Taking the effects of COVID-19 into consideration increases the number of families that may be eligible to participate in these free preschool programs.
Families who live within Albemarle County and have a child who will be four years old by September 30 may be eligible to enroll in the Bright Stars Program and/or the Monticello Area Community Action Agency (MACAA) Head Start Program. MACAA Head Start also accepts children who will be three years old by Sept. 30.
Those who live within the Charlottesville City limits and have a child who will be three or four years old by Sept. 30 may be eligible to enroll in the Charlottesville City Preschool Program and/or the MACAA Head Start Program.
The joint preschool application and additional information for each program can be found here:
- Albemarle County Department of Social Services
- Albemarle County Public Schools
- Charlottesville City Preschool Program
- Head Start Preschool Program