Did you know that many of us already missed the deadlines to apply for Pre-School for the upcoming fall school year!  How crazy is that, but it’s true.  It’s hard to imagine the the minute your child turns 2 you have to start thinking about pre-school.  We all want our kids to have a jump start on learning and if you want to take advantage of the amazing public school offerings, you do need to start your research on your child’s 2nd birthday.   So, when planning for pre-school in the city for your little one there are a million options, but where do you start?

In this post I’ll focus on public school offerings, and this is the planning process for the 2020/2021 school year, YES you need to plan this far ahead to make the deadlines!  The CPS website is still making selections for the 2019/2020 school year, so it hasn’t been updated yet, but it will be a similar timeline just with this years date.  Your child must be 3 years old (and potty trained) by September 1 of the start of the upcoming school year.

CPS has divided up the process on their website (found here )Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 2.29.51 PM

I found this timeline to be overwhelming and loooong.  So this is what I did.  I researched the schools and locations I was interested in online in October-ish.  I viewed their websites, stats/rankings and found out which ones offer a free program for 3 year olds and how and when to apply.  The majority of this information is found on the CPS website as linked above.  For our youngest I was considering full day options.  As a 3 year old the options are limited to magnet lottery, tuition based pre-school or private.  4 year old pre-schoolers have more options for full day at even more schools!

First you need to go online and check out the information and start poking around on there.  Then you need to create a GoCPS account before you can start applying.  You can do this anytime so you might as well get a leg up on it so that is out of the way.  If you already have kids at CPS, this is a different account than your home schools portal, however you can link your currently enrolled children so everything is in one place (more on that as I have yet to do it).

I am an expert on growing families staying in the city, so I already knew about a few options I was interested in.  I have also talked to a lot of families that have raved about Oscar Mayer (Lincoln Park), Drummond (Bucktown) and Inter-American (Lakeview) However, you can search by map, school name or perhaps look into a school that is near you to see what they offer.  One thing that was important to me was the school hours.  Since we have to drop off our other two, we needed a school that started either before or after their start time so we could account for travel time.  This is all done through the schools website or this CPS site

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 2.53.50 PM

I applied in December and once your app is in you wait!  You can check in and see that your application went through as it will say *submitted as shown above.  The first round of selections are happening now, March, for the upcoming 2019/2020 fall school year.   So if you have a newly 2 year old, I wish you happy planning ahead for next years school year!

If you have questions or would like more personal information on this, feel free to comment or reach out to me directly!

Enjoy Chicago,


The Yeager Team:  A Chicago Real Estate Family 

We Live Here, We Work Here, We Are Raising Our Kids Here Residential Real Estate Sales   |     http://www.atproperties.com/agents/julianayeager      |  http://www.theyeagerteam.com

Leave a Reply