Early Childhood Advisory Council encourages families to explore preschool options during Palmetto Pre-K Enrollment Day

Columbia, SC – This April 4, the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) invites South Carolinians to learn about the state's publicly funded preschool programs by visiting Each year in April, Palmetto Pre-K Enrollment Day focuses attention on the importance of early education in preparing children for school and life success.

Palmetto Pre-K, an official website of the State of South Carolina, provides a one-stop shop for families to find and apply for one of the state’s free educational preschool options, including First Steps 4K, Head Start, public school 4K, and the Department of Social Services’ Child Care Scholarship program.

Most four-year-olds in South Carolina qualify for one or more of these programs. Palmetto Pre-K makes it easy for families to check their eligibility, locate available providers, and apply to the program that best suits their needs.

To read a proclamation from Governor Henry McMaster celebrating April 4 as Palmetto Pre-K Enrollment Day, click here.

For more information about the Palmetto Pre-K initiative and how to apply for pre-kindergarten programs, please visit


"We know that a quality preschool experience can have a life-changing impact on a child's readiness for school. As representatives of the state’s early childhood system, the ECAC is committed to ensuring that every child has access to these crucial opportunities. With Palmetto Pre-K, we have made it easier than ever for families to understand their options, find a program that meets their needs, and apply. That's why Palmetto Pre-K Enrollment Day is such a special day. It’s a recognition that early education matters in South Carolina.” – SC First Steps and ECAC Executive Director Georgia Mjartan

“Early literacy is the proven path to a lifetime of learning success. High-quality pre-K programs provide a sturdy bridge from home to school for South Carolina children to enter kindergarten ready to unleash their own reading ‘superpower’!” – State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver

“South Carolina’s ABC Quality program, the only statewide child care rating program, administered by the Department of Social Services knows that child care is so much more than a place providing care while parents or guardians are working or pursuing their education. A quality child care program can promote learning in an environment that is safe, fun and provides much more critical development for children through laughter, learning and play. Researchers note that 90% of brain development takes place in the first five years of life and a quality learning environment in the critical early years shapes a child’s brain and puts them on the path to future success.” – DSS State Director Michael Leach

“Head Start is a multifaceted program offering a comprehensive array of services, ranging from early childhood education, mental health, nutritional support, health services, and parental involvement initiatives. By nurturing the cognitive, social, and emotional development of young learners, Head Start lays a sturdy foundation for their future success. This wonderful program stands as a testament to the power of early childhood education, enriching the lives of countless children and families, and paving the way for brighter futures.” – SC State Head Start Association President Olandor Lewis

“In South Carolina, families have options when it comes to choosing their preschool home. First Steps 4K allows families the choice of a full-day four-year-old kindergarten program based on their preferences and not their zip code. Most First Steps 4K providers offer extended day and year-round options, plus child care scholarships for siblings up to age twelve. This helps parents and caregivers find comprehensive support for their children's care and education, which benefits the whole family.” – First Steps 4K State Director Martha Strickland

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