Please note: applications are being accepted for the current school year only. The application for Fall 2017 will be available in Spring 2017.

Enrolling your child in early childhood programs is easy and open year round. All you need is to complete three easy steps:

  1. Find your preferred programs.
  2. Submit an application online or by calling (312) 229-1690
  3. Visit the site to which you are applying (for community-based preschool programs) or Colman or Hall Mall (for school-based preschool programs) to confirm your placement.

Finding programs

The City of Chicago and its partners offer early learning programs at over 600 sites throughout the city. Visit our search page to identify sites in areas near your home or work. The Chicago Early Learning Portal allows you to identify a programs quality rating, schedule and ages served.

We encourage you to reach out to preferred providers to ask questions or schedule a visit. Resources to help identify if a program is a good fit for your family are included on our family information page.

If you need assistance with general questions or finding options near you, feel free to call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at (312) 229-1690. If you have specific questions for our city departments and providers call the CPS Office of Early Childhood Education (773) 553-2010, DFSS Children’s Services Division (866) 647-2489, or the number listed on a provider’s detailed info page.


This year, Chicago launched an online application to apply for preschool programs at over 600 sites throughout the city accessible from your home computer, shared computer or mobile phone. Visit the online application site to sign up for family account and profile, create an application for your child(ren), and select your preferred sites. You will be able to immediately see if you are eligible for a preliminary placement with a provider.

f you do not have access to a computer or mobile phone or would prefer in-person assistance, visit the community-based program to which you would like to apply or visit Colman – CPS Central Office (4655 S. Dearborn) or Hall Mall (4638 W. Diversey) for school-based preschool programs.

You can also call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at (312) 229-1690 and submit an application over the phone.

If you are interested in programs for children birth to aged three – contact your preferred provider directly.

Visit to confirm

Once you have received a preliminary placement, you will be directed to the site to which you have applied (for community-based preschools) or to Colman – CPS Central Office or Hall Mall (for school-based preschools) to provide additional information that may confirm your placement. We recommend that you call in advance to confirm the necessary materials and a good time to visit.

Once your placement is confirmed, you will receive any additional info necessary to finish registration and start the program. Please let your provider know if you need an immediate placement, or you are interested in enrolling for the next program year. Both options may be available.

If your child or family is in a temporary living situation, living in a shelter, or sharing a house with another family, you will not be required to provide documentation. Falsifying this information may result in loss of placement.

If you are looking to enroll your child in a birth to three year old program or home visiting services, please contact your preferred sites directly or call the Hotline for assistance.