Establishing a Program

If your district is interested in opening a new or expanding a current public preschool program, please refer to the following steps.

  1. Complete the Maine DOE Preschool Planning Survey available online in the fall of the year before opening.  The survey link will be provided and a deadline is announced in the Maine DOE News in September of each year.
  2. Become familiar with Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs.
  3. Complete the online application and submit it to Maine DOE by April 30 for a fall opening date. 
  4. Applications will be reviewed and districts will be notified by a letter of approval from Maine DOE.
  5. Users can access a PDF version of the application here.

Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist, is available for on-site consultation, meetings with district staff and community members, resources, phone calls, and email.  Do not hesitate to contact her with any questions or concerns.

Support for completing the public preschool application

Teacher Degree Requirement

Public Preschool Teachers must hold an Early Childhood 081 (Birth-5) endorsement or a conditional 081 endorsement.

Assistant Teachers must hold a minimum of an Educational Technician II Authorization and obtain a Level 4 status on the Maine Roads to Quality Registry within 3 years.

All preschool staff must join the Maine Roads to Quality Registry. Maine Roads to Quality ( )is the professional development network for all early childhood professionals in the state of Maine and is funded through a block grant from the Maine Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Child & Family Services.  MRTQ offers free or low-cost training-face-to-face, hybrid and online. 

Additional information is provided here to support school districts as they prepare for and establish public preschool programs:

  • CDS/District blank MOU template.
  • District/Head Start sample contract and MOU1 MOU2.
  • District/Community Partner sample MOU.
  • Public Preschool Budget.
  • TSG/MELDS Crosswalk. Crosswalk between Maine ELDS and Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment.
  • Certification & Professional Development. Public preschool teachers and assistants must hold specific endorsements from the Maine Department of Education. The Department has compiled professional development resources to provide ongoing support to educators in their efforts.
  • Transportation. Transportation will ensure preschool access to children who may otherwise not be able to attend the program.
  • Other Resources. Includes links to general, state, and national resources related to public preschools.
    Contact Us

    Nicole Madore
    Early Childhood Specialist
    Phone: 207-624-6677