Public preschool in Maine

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

Access to high-quality preschool can enrich children's development so that they thrive in school and later enter the workforce as well-prepared employees. Public preschool, sometimes known as prekindergarten, is an optional program and the decision to offer a four-year-old program is made by school boards at the local level. Some areas of the state serve the majority of their four-year-olds through public preschool, where other areas serve a small percentage. 

What the data shows
Enrollment in public pre-school had been increasing and was 6,187 students as of October 2019. But, due to the pandemic of 2020, fewer students enrolled in public pre-school. In October 2020, just 4,746, statewide, a drop of 23%. It has recovered somewhat in the fall of 2021 to 5,613, an increase of 867, but still 574 fewer students than in 2019. The 2021 Public pre-school rate for the state is 42.5%.

There is notable variation by county. The highest rate of public preschool enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is in Aroostook County at 77.8%, down from 92.9% from October 2019 before the pandemic. The second highest rate in October 2021 was Franklin County at 64.9%.  In 2021, Cumberland and Hancock had the lowest rates at 22.4% in Cumberland and 29.4% respectively. 
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Public preschool

Data Provided By

Definitions: The number and percent of four-year-old children enrolled in a four-year-old program offered through a school administrative unit. Children must be four years of age by October 15 of the entering school year in order to be eligible for a public preschool program, also known as pre-kindergarten. Data marked as 2021 is for students enrolled as of October 2021.

Data Source: Maine Department of Education Data Warehouse

Footnotes: Data represent school years. Year indicated is the fall term of the year, such that "2021" data represent 2021-2022 school year.

Previous data for 2015-2016 was revised to include the sum of PK and PR which are two different types of public preschool programs. 2020 and 2021 data from Maine Department of Education has no separate breakout between Pre-Kindergarten and Preschool.

Updated February 2022.