West Hartford Public Schools is excited to offer nationally accredited school-day pre-kindergarten programs for West Hartford residents at Charter Oak International Academy!


COIA art


Charter Oak
International Academy

  • five classrooms

  • must be 3 or 4 years old on or before January 1st

  • any West Hartford resident may apply

The West Hartford Public Schools prekindergarten implements the Creative Curriculum for Preschool. This play-based approach is grounded in research and early childhood theory. Teachers plan for and assess young children's development using the companion assessment tool called Teaching Strategies GOLD.

The pre-kindergarten program currently does not accept applications for children that are kindergarten age eligible. Applications are available online and in elementary school offices between January and March the school year prior. Enrollment is based on a lottery system. Tuition is assessed on a sliding scale based on gross yearly income and family size.

What is the curriculum?

Teachers implement the Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. This curriculum is strongly aligned with the State of Connecticut Early Learning and Development standards. These standards are designed to assure that children engage in developmentally appropriate experiences that prepare them for a successful transition to kindergarten.

What does it mean to be a NAEYC Accredited Program?

As a program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), we have demonstrated that our program meets the high standards this association sets for its members and guarantees we are providing a high quality educational experience.

How does the lottery work?

Students will be admitted into a pre-kindergarten class through a lottery process. Applications will be available on January 10, 2019. While early applications are appreciated, no preference will be given to those received in advance of the deadline of March 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm. All applications received on or before March 7, 2019, will be included in the lottery. Applications received after 4:00 pm on March 7, 2019 will be placed on a wait list.

Charter Oak International Academy has 5 pre-kindergarten classrooms accommodating 80 three and four-year-old students. Smith pre-kindergarten program has 1 classroom for 16 four-year-old students. Webster Hill has 1 classroom for 16 four-year-old students. Once all applications have been received and the lottery numbers assigned, we will select the first round of students to be accepted to the pre-kindergarten programs and place other students on the waiting list. Parents/guardians in the first round must commit by establishing residency by March 28, 2019 and provide a $50.00 deposit, after which we will take students off the waiting list to fill any vacancies that occur.

Where can I apply for the pre-kindergarten program?

You can apply online.

How old does my child have to be to attend a pre-kindergarten program in the West Hartford Public Schools?

Smith STEM and Webster Hill pre-kindergarten classrooms accept 4 year-olds only. Students must be 4 years old on or before January 1, 2020.

Charter Oak International Academy has mixed age pre-kindergarten classrooms with 3 and 4 year-olds. Students must be 3 or 4 respectively with birthdays on or before January 1, 2020. 

We do not currently accept children that are age-eligible for Kindergarten.

Can I apply to more than one magnet pre-kindergarten program?

Any family that resides in West Hartford may apply to either Charter Oak International Academy or Smith STEM School for pre-kindergarten. Families who reside in the Webster Hill neighborhood may apply to Webster Hill pre-kindergarten and one magnet school. 

Do I have to be a resident of West Hartford to apply for pre-kindergarten?

Yes. All West Hartford residents may apply to Charter Oak International Academy or Smith STEM School. You must live in the Webster Hill neighborhood to apply for pre-kindergarten at Webster Hill School.

What is the cost and is financial aid available?

Tuition for the 2019-2020 school year will be between $3,492 and $4,284 based on income and family size.

Parents may apply for financial aid, based on their income. Proof of income will be required following acceptance into the program.

Once you have been accepted in the lottery, you will be asked to establish residency, submit a $50 deposit, and complete an income verification form. If you choose not to submit an income verification form, your tuition will be between $3,492 and $4,284 based on family size. Tuition will be due in 10 equal monthly payments with the first payment due on August 1, 2019 and the last payment due on May 1, 2020. Non-payment of tuition will result in dismissal of the student. These tuitions are consistent with State of CT regulations as of 1/1/2017 and are subject to change as State of CT regulations change.

View the PreK tuition rates

Do I have to register my child before I complete the application for pre-kindergarten?


This lottery is open only to students who are West Hartford residents.  We do not require that you establish residency as part of the application process. However, should your student be selected in the lottery, you will have a deadline to register and prove residency with WHPS before the space can be assigned to your student.

For more details on the residency requirements for WHPS please visit the residency website at

Is there a waiting list if my child does not get admitted into the pre-kindergarten program?

Yes, after the lottery is held, you will receive a letter stating whether your child will be offered a spot in the program or will be placed on the waiting list. As students who are admitted decide not to attend or move out of West Hartford, vacancies will be filled from the waiting list.

If my child is not accepted into one of the public school pre-kindergarten programs, is there a list of private programs available in West Hartford?

Whom do I call if I still have questions about pre-kindergarten in West Hartford?

Call Irene Garneau, Department Supervisor for Early Childhood at (860) 929-5552.

What are the health requirements and immunization requirements for school entry?

In accordance with State of Connecticut regulations, all students entering West Hartford Public Schools pre-kindergarten through grade 12 must have an up-to-date physical examination and immunizations prior to attending school. 

Early Childhood Health Assessment Record

Pre-kindergarten children entering school at age 3 should have a physical updated yearly. Flu shots are required for all preschool aged students prior to January 1 each year. Up-to-date immunizations are required by the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health.

What if my child is not toilet trained?

It is the policy of the West Hartford Public School pre-kindergarten program that children registered for school are strongly encouraged to become toilet trained before entering the program. For children who have not completed their training, a planned approach will be developed for both school and home, collaboratively implemented by the child’s family and the teacher to ensure consistency.

What is the program schedule?

The pre-kindergarten program follows a school day schedule. School hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are 8:35 a.m. – 3:20 p.m. On Wednesdays, children are dismissed at 2:00 p.m. for teacher professional development. Pre-kindergarten programs follow the West Hartford Public School calendar. We do not have programming over school vacations or summer vacation.

Will transportation be provided for my child?

According to state statutes, children, including pre-kindergarteners, who live within a mile of school, are not eligible for bus transportation and, therefore, walk to school if their families cannot provide their own transportation. If you are unsure as to whether your house is within the one-mile mark, contact the Office of Transportation at 860-561-6647.

Are there before and after school programs available at school?

Before and after care is provided by independent agencies at each elementary school. Please contact the program directly.

Charter Oak International Academy: Family Resource Center (860) 929-5573

Webster Hill School: (860) 525-1163

I have questions about Special Education for my pre-kindergarten aged child.

If you have questions about your child's development, or suspect that your child may have special education needs, please call the Intake Coordinator, Maureen Fenton, at the Early Learning Center at 860-233-8541 ext 3567.

Charter Oak Pre-K Staff

Cindy Barron

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Beth Cannone

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Nichola Dustin

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Irene Garneau

Department Supervisor of Early Childhood

Emily McMurray

PreKindergarten Teacher

Kimberlee O'Connell

PreKindergarten Teacher