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Universal Pre-K Information


February 2024


Vermont’s Universal PreK (UPK) Law: Act 166

Information for Residents of WNESU

(Athens, Grafton, Rockingham, and Westminster)


What is UPK?

  • UPK is publicly funded preschool.
  • Every preschool-aged child in Vermont is entitled to 10 free hours per week (35 weeks per year) of developmentally appropriate preschool.  Your school district pays for those preschool hours. 
  • In our district, public preschool is WNESU’s Early Education Center OR a tuition-reduced slot at a pre-qualified private provider.


Where are these publicly funded preschool programs?

  • WNESU Early Education Center is an entirely free publicly funded preschool program at two sites: in the Central Elementary School in Bellows Falls and in the Westminster Elementary School. We have two classrooms at Central Elementary School in Bellows Falls and one classroom at the Westminster Center School. We provide free preschool full days/full weeks (Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 2:30 pm). We follow the school year calendar.  Part time options will be available for families who prefer a shorter schedule.


  • WNESU school districts pay tuition to pre-qualified private providers anywhere in Vermont for 10 hours per week of high-quality preschool.  Families will continue to be charged fully beyond the 10 hours/week during the academic year.  Most of these programs provide care for longer hours, and during school vacations. Families must apply directly to the pre-qualified private provider they select AND complete a WNESU registration form.  A list of pre-qualified programs can be found at: http://www.brightfutures.dcf.state.vt.us 


Is my child eligible for publicly funded preschool?

  • If you reside in Athens, Grafton, Rockingham, or Westminster, then your child is eligible to participate.
  • Your child must be 3 years old by September 1, 2024 to be eligible.
  • In order to participate, your child must be registered with WNESU. Register using the PDF application form, below. If you prefer to apply online, you may use this link instead.


More important information about WNESU Early Education Center:

We have three classrooms and a finite number of preK slots. If we receive more applications than available slots by the due date (4/12/2024), this is our process:

  • 4-year-olds will be placed first.
  • After all 4-year-olds are placed, remaining slots will be filled through random selection. 
  • All placement decisions will take into account:   
    • district of residence; we strive to have the preschool student population reflect the membership of our school districts in proportion to their representation in the WNESU.
    • family preference for site and schedule. 
  •  Late applications will not be considered in the first drawing for the public sites.  Late applications will be considered for later drawings as slots become available.


How do I apply? 




Call WNESU Early Education Center

(802) 460-7824 or

(802) 376-7386 cell

Families need to fill out the attached application (OR through the linked online application), submit required documentation, AND apply to participating providers directly.