• What is Early Start?
    The Early Start/VPI (Virginia Preschool Initiative) program is designed to reduce disparities among young children upon formal school entry and to reduce or eliminate risk factors that lead to early academic failure.  This program is for children who turn 4 years old by September 30, 2024, who need an extra year to prepare for success in kindergarten.

    Acceptance Criteria:
    Acceptance into the program is determined on eligibility criteria and identified risk factors, not on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligibility criteria include, but is not limited to:

    • Family income
    • Family homelessness
    • Parents/guardians level of education
    • Special Needs or Disability
    • Language and development assessment of the child

    Accepted students are not guaranteed placement in a home-zoned school.  School placement will be determined based on Early Start zoning. Transportation is provided.

    2024-2025 Early Start Application:
    All applications must be completed online through the Google Form linked below:

    Early Start Application to open on February 7, 2024.
    Click here: Early Start VPI Application 

    Application Timeline (after you submit the online Early Start application):

    1. Application Reviewed by SPS.
    2. You will recieve a "Pre-Screening or Waitlist" email.
      • *Pre-Screening: Based on your application responses, your child pre-qualifies for a screening appointment for the Early Start Program
      • Waitlist: Based on your application responses, your child does not pre-qualify for a screening appointment. HOWEVER, your child may still be considered for the program ending enrollment availability. You will receive a screening appointment email if your child has been removed from the waitlist.
    3. Pre-Screening Appointments: Attend the scheduled screening appointment (approximately 30 minutes).
    4. Acceptance letters will be emailed on July 15, 2024.
    5. If accepted, registration at the assigned school is required.

    February 7, 2024

    Application Open for the 24-25 School Year


    Pre-Screening Process* (by appointment only)

    May 17, 2024 (Deadline to submit applications) Families who submit applications after the May 17th deadline will automatically be placed on the waitlist for the Early Start Program.  You will be contacted if a space becomes available at your zoned school.

    July 15, 2024

    Acceptance Letters Sent via Email

    Pre-screenings allow school officials to select children according to their needs. Screenings for both child and parent will take place starting in March.  Once your application has been reviewed, you will be contacted with your pre-screening appointment date/time.  We encourage you to submit your Early Start Application to begin the process. 



Early Start FAQs

  • What is Early Start/VPI?

  • Which school will my child attend?

  • How do I register my child for school?

  • Is transportation provided for my child?

  • What time does Early Start/VPI school start?

  • Does Suffolk Public Schools offer before and after-school child care?

  • What curriculum is used for Early Start/VPI students?

  • When will I be notified whether my child has been accepted into the Early Start/VPI program?

  • Is Early Start/VPI a full day or half a day?

  • Can I pick up my child early a few days a week?

  • What happens if I move before the first day of school or during the school year?

  • Can I still apply if I am not a Suffolk resident?