%22Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.%22 Mr. Rogers

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” ~Mr. Rogers

​​​Do you have a child who will be three or four years old by September 30, 2024? If so, then your family could be eligible to participate in one of our three, free, preschool programs.

Albemarle County Public Schools is now accepting applications for all of our preschool programs for the 2024-25 school year.

You can learn more about our programs and access our application and frequently asked questions fact sheet at our ACPS Preschool Application and Information page​

For more information, please contact Lisa Molinaro, Preschool Lead Coach, at or 434-296-5820 ext. 13524.

Albemarle County Public Schools proudly offers preschool programs at many of our elementary schools to children with the greatest need. Preschool is a full-day program that follows the ACPS school calendar and school hours. Each of our unique programs provides children with purposeful learning experiences to prepare them for a successful transition to kindergarten, while they grow to become enthusiastic, confident, and independent learners.​ 



Bright Stars Program

The Bright Stars Program is a state and locally-funded early intervention and prevention program provided in collaboration with Albemarle County Public Schools and the Albemarle County Department of Social Services. The program is designed to only serve four-year-old children who may be at risk for developmental and/or educational challenges. This high-quality and engaging preschool experience provides children with skills that promote school and life success. Through the application process, a variety of child and family risk factors are considered, including low or limited income, homelessness, limited parent/guardian education, or an identified disability. Other risk factors may be considered such as single-parent households, mental or physical health concerns, domestic violence, substance use and abuse or neglect. Eligibility is based on an assessment of risk factors that are collected and identified through the application process. When possible, it is a priority to serve all eligible children in their neighborhood school, where they will attend Kindergarten, with few exceptions. In addition to a high-quality preschool experience, children and their families are provided support and case management from a Family Coordinator through the Department of Social Services.

The Bright Stars Program provides children with opportunities to:  

  • Explore and create during many kinds of play
  • Communicate and cooperate with other children and adults
  • Learn and practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills 
  • Learn pre-literacy and early numeracy skills that support them in developing kindergarten readiness

Our 11 Bright Stars classrooms are located across 7 of our 15 Elementary schools: Agnor, GreerMountain View, Red Hill, Scottsville, Stone Robinson, and Woodbrook. Each classroom enrolls a maximum of 18 students and is staffed with a full-time highly qualified teacher and teaching assistant.

Students living in the Stony Point district may attend the preschool program, if accepted, at Stone-Robinson Elementary. Transportation is provided to Stone-Robinson from one bus stop located at Wilton Farms. If that stop is inaccessible to families, they may provide their own transportation to Stone-Robinson.

For families who are eligible for enrollment, but whose neighborhood school does not offer a Bright Stars classroom, enrollment may be offered as space permits at another school. Families would be responsible for providing transportation to/from school.

Family Engagement                                                 

Parents are their child's first and most important teacher. Parental involvement is a key factor for children to be successful in school. 

ACDSS Family Coordinators serve as liaisons between the schools and families enrolled in the program. The Family Coordinator and the classroom teacher work closely with each family to support them in identifying needs and accessing community services and support

Bright Stars Parents commit to:

  • Partnering with the family coordinator, classroom teacher, and school
  • Attending parent-teacher-family coordinator conferences twice a year
  • Participating in a minimum of  4 class field trips, school events, and /or family engagement events


Application Process

Families are encouraged to apply online at or submit a paper application by clicking on the ACPS Preschool Application and Information page​

ACPS Preschool Network - Head Start, Title 1, Bright Stars, and Early Childhood Speacial Education

PLEASE NOTEApplying does NOT guarantee enrollment. Regrettably, all families cannot be served however, a waiting list for enrollment in the program is maintained.

For Bright Stars program information contact:

Lisa Molinaro, ACPS Lead Coach for Preschool
Albemarle County Public Schools
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902​
(434) 296-5820​ Ext. 13524

Early Childhood Special Education Program (ECSE)

The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program serves children who have been found eligible for special education with an identified disability between the ages 2-5 years old (as of Sept 30th of the current school year), through a variety of models including part-time playgroups, itinerant and consultative services within general education ACPS and community preschool classrooms, and self-contained and inclusive ECSE classrooms (full-time hours except shortened day Fridays). Eligible special education students’ services are outlined within Individual Education Programs (IEPs). The inclusive ECSE classrooms also serve 4-year-olds (as of Sept 30th of the current school year) who do not have a suspected or identified disability and serve as peer models. Students are placed in these seats by need-based and in-district priority. Transportation can be provided to/from ACPS program locations and residency addresses for students eligible for special education services and students without disabilities when accepted into the inclusive ECSE classroom at their districted school.

Our 8 ECSE classrooms are located across 7 of our 15 Elementary schools: Baker-Butler, Broadus Wood, BrownsvilleGreerHollymead, Mountain View, Stone-Robinson, and Stony Point.

PreK Special Education Intake Team

All preschool referrals for consideration for special education eligibility/services (including referrals for speech concerns) should be directed to the Special Education Preschool Evaluation Team at (434)-296-5885, option #4.

Application Information for Students w/o Disabilities

Families are encouraged to apply for the seats for students without disabilities within our inclusive ECSE classrooms, online at or by submitting a paper application, which can be found below.


Julia Petro, ECSE Coordinator
Albemarle County Public Schools
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902​
434-296-5820 Ext.13215
A preschool student plays with a toy during the program.

Head Start Program

CDI-Head Start is a federally-funded child development program for 3 and 4-year-olds that provides services to promote the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of children from income-eligible families. Head Start classes are currently located at Agnor Elementary, Crozet Elementary, Greer Elementary, and Hollymead Elementary. 

Application Process

Families are encouraged to apply online at or submit a paper application.

Additional Information

Quick Guide


Joyce Frye, Family Community Partnership Engagement Specialist
Phone: (877) 404-0706

Jennifer Durrett, Family Advocate
Phone: (877) 404-0706

CDI Head Start Serving Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson Counties
Administrative Offices                                                                                                                                                                            2211 Hydraulic Road Ste. 203                                                                                                                                                                Charlottesville, VA 22901
(877) 404-0706 

For additional information regarding ACPS Preschool contact:

Lisa Molinaro, ACPS Lead Coach for Preschool​
Albemarle County Public Schools
401 McIntire Road​
Charlottesville, VA 22902​
(434) 296-5820​​​​