Pre-Kindergarten Approval


In order to initiate the pre-kindergarten approval process, the interested school district must submit the SFN 60869 School District Pre-kindergarten Program Approval form along with the following items:

  • A copy of the school board minutes documenting school board approval of the program
  • A copy of the most recent fire marshal’s safety report

Pre-kindergarten programs must be taught by a highly qualified teacher whom have one of the following:

  • B3 License
  • Elementary education major and an early childhood endorsement
  • Elementary education major and a minor in early childhood education
  • Elementary education major and a kindergarten endorsement. A plan of study may be granted for the kindergarten endorsement which will allow a teacher two years to complete the required coursework for the endorsement.
  • K-8 license. The K-8 licenses are no longer issued by ESPB. However, those who already have a K- 8 license may teach pre-kindergarten.
  • K-6 license. The K-6 licenses are no longer issued by ESPB. However, those who already have a K- 6 license may teach pre-kindergarten.

Once the approval form and documentation are reviewed, grade level organization will be updated, and the program will be approved by the NDDPI to operate as a pre-kindergarten program for the school year requested in the approval form. Annual approval is no longer needed as NDDPI will conduct yearly desk audits. School districts will be notified in the Annual Desk Monitoring letter if any changes are required. Be sure to keep your MIS03, STARS, and NDTEACH updated with your pre-kindergarten information.

Contact the North Dakota Department of Human Services Early Childhood Division at (701) 328-2115 for additional information.

Serving Three-Year Olds in Public Schools

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) and the North Dakota Department of Human Services (NDDHS) realize there is some confusion in the field around three-year-olds attending prekindergarten in a public school Approved by NDDPI.

The North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) defines Early Childhood Education in two separate chapters: NDDPI follows Chapter 15.1-37 and NDDHS follows Chapter 50-11.1 therefore, causing confusion in the field.

Below are excerpts from the NDCC describing each chapter. In summary, NDDPI cannot Approve a school district that is enrolling three-year-olds not on an Individualized Learning Plan, the child must be age four before August 4 of the school year; therefore, the school district must seek licensing approval through NDDHS. In contradiction, the NDCC, under NDDHS allows the Superintendent of Public Instruction to Approve early childhood programs for children under the age of six without obtaining child care licensing.

NDDPI: 15.1-37-01. Early childhood education program – Approval.

1. Any person or school district operating an early childhood education program may request approval of the program from the superintendent of public instruction. The superintendent shall approve an early childhood education program if the program:

  1. Is taught by individuals who are licensed to teach in early childhood education by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach in early childhood education by the education standards and practices board;
  2. Follows educational standards approved by the superintendent of public instruction;
  3. Is in compliance with all municipal and state health, fire, and safety requirements; and
  4. Limits its enrollment to children who have reached the age of four before August first in the year of enrollment

2. In determining the state aid payments to which a school district is entitled, the superintendent of public instruction may not count any student enrolled in a regular early childhood education program. 

NDDHS: 50-11.1-02. Definitions.

7. “Early childhood services” means the care, supervision, education, or guidance of a child or children, which is provided in exchange for money, goods, or other services.

Early childhood services does not include: d. child care, preschool, and prekindergarten services provided to children under six years of age in any educational facility through a program approved by the superintendent of public instruction.

The NDDPI tried to have this issue resolved during the 65th Legislative Assembly. The amendment to help clarify these laws failed.  Senate Bill 2250 was divided into two sections with Division A containing the language to allow NDDPI to Approve prekindergarten classrooms with three-year-olds. This amendment* failed to pass 44 YEAS, 47 NAYS, 0 EXCUSED, 3 ABSENT AND NOT VOTING.

Due to the failing amendment, NDDPI and NDDHS are required to follow the same law. We encourage you to contact your local Senator and Representatives and encourage them to submit a bill in the 2019 session to correct this language requiring duplication. 

In the meantime, NDDPI and NDDHS are working to help programs serve children and families in the programs that exist. Contact the North Dakota Department of Human Services Early Childhood Division at (701) 328-2115 for additional information.

2021-2022 Approved Pre-Kindergarten Programs
  • Academy for Children (Fargo)
  • Alexander Public School
  • Ashley Public School
  • Barnes County North (Wimbledon)
  • Beach Public School
  • Belfield Public School
  • Bismarck Early Childhood Education Program
  • Bob Callies Preschool (Garrison)
  • Bowman County Preschool
  • Caring-TON Preschool
  • Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Elementary (Bismarck)
  • Cavalier Public School
  • Center-Stanton Public School (Center)
  • Central Cass Public School (Casselton)
  • Christ the King Catholic Montessori (Mandan)
  • Dakota Prairie Public School (Petersburg)
  • Drayton Public School
  • Dunseith Public School
  • Early Explorers Head Start (Devils Lake)
  • Edgeley Public School
  • Edmore Public School
  • Elgin-New Leipzig Public School
  • Emerado Public School
  • Fessenden-Bowdon Public School (Fessenden)
  • Fordville-Lankin Public School (Fordville)
  • Gackle-Streeter Public School (Gackle)
  • Gingerbread House (West Fargo)
  • Glen Ullin Public School
  • Glenburn Public School
  • Goodrich Public School
  • Grafton Public School-Century Elementary
  • Gwinner (North Sargent)
  • Hazelton-Moffitt-Braddock Public School (Hazelton)
  • Hebron Public School
  • Hettinger Public School
  • Holy Family School
  • Holy Spirit Elementary School (Fargo)
  • Innovation School (Bismarck)
  • Kensal Public School
  • Kenmare Public School
  • Kidder County (Steele Public School)
  • Killdeer Public School
  • Kulm Public School
  • Larimore Public School
  • Leeds Public School
  • Lewis & Clark (Berthold)
  • Lewis & Clark (Plaza)
  • Linton Public School
  • Litchville-Marion (Marion)
  • Little Flower Elementary School (Rugby)
  • Little Learners (Parshall)
  • Little Lions Preschool (Bishop Ryan Minot)
  • Little Scholars Preschool (Williston)
  • Lone Tree Public School (Golva)
  • Maddock Public School
  • Manvel Public School
  • Mapleton Public School
  • Marmarth Public School
  • Martin Luther School (Bismarck)
  • Max Public School
  • McClusky Public School
  • Midway Public School
  • Minnewaukan Public School
  • Minto Public School
  • Missouri Valley Montessori (Bismarck)
  • Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Public School (Mohall)
  • Montpelier Public School
  • Mt. Pleasant Public School (Rolla)
  • Munich Public School
  • Nativity Elementary School (Fargo)
  • Naughton School (Bismarck)
  • Nedrose Public School (Minot)
  • New England Public School
  • New Rockford-Sheyenne Public School (New Rockford)
  • North Border-Pembina Public School
  • North Border-Walhalla Public School
  • North Star (Cando)
  • Northern Cass Public School (Hunter)
  • Park River Area Public School
  • Pingree-Buchanan Public School (Pingree)
  • Richardton-Taylor Public School (Richardton)
  • Richland School District (Colfax)
  • Rugby Early Learning Center
  • Sargent Central Public School (Forman)
  • Sawyer Public School
  • Scranton Public School
  • Solen Public School District (Cannon Ball Preschool)
  • South Heart Public School
  • South Prairie School District (Minot)
  • St. Alphonsus Catholic School (Langdon)
  • St. Anne Elementary (Bismarck)
  • St. John’s Academy (Jamestown)
  • St. John (St. John School)
  • St. Mary’s Elementary (Bismarck)
  • St. Michael’s Elementary School (Grand Forks)
  • St. Thomas Public School
  • Starkweather Public School
  • Sterling Public School
  • Strasburg Public School
  • Surrey Public School
  • Tiny Turtles Preschool (Belcourt)
  • Trinity Elementary School (West Fargo)
  • Turtle Lake-Mercer Public School (Turtle Lake)
  • Underwood Public School
  • United Public School (Burlington)
  • University Children’s Learning Center (Grand Forks)
  • Valley-Edinburg Elementary School (Hoople)
  • Victory Christian (Jamestown)
  • Warwick Public School
  • Washburn Public School
  • Westhope Public School
  • Wilton Public School
  • Wing Public School
  • Wishek Public School
  • YMCA Childcare Development Center (West Fargo)
  • Zeeland Public School