The expansion of preschool in Durham, funded by Durham County and led by Child Care Services Association, benefits from strong collaboration. These important partner agencies ensure the success of the program for Durham families.

PreK Partners

Durham's Partnership for Children

Durham's Partnership for Children leads community strategies for children birth-5 and their families to ensure that every child in Durham enters school healthy and ready to succeed. We administer the Smart Start initiative, NC Pre-K, Early Head Start, and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, as well as community-based programs that promote healthy development and learning and enhance access to high-quality care. The Partnership identifies emerging needs and mobilizes partners to support comprehensive approaches to serving all young children in Durham. 

Located in the same building as CCSA, we support DPK by way of application processing, phone management, and placements. DPfC’s office is the main hub for DPK applications which are accepted all year.

NC Pre-K

The statewide NC Pre-K program prepares eligible 4-year-olds for school by providing high-quality early education in both public and private settings. The program is community-based, voluntary, and designed to serve 4-year-olds who will benefit most from services. The program follows the Durham Public School calendar and operates 6.5 hours a day.

In Durham County, during the 18’-19’ school year Durham’s Partnership for Children administers the program and served 490 children in classrooms in Durham Public Schools, Durham Head Start, and private childcare centers. Technical assistance and support from the Partnership guarantees quality and compliance with all regulations. The Partnership also leads a universal application process with six collaborative agencies to serve and assist families throughout the community in applying for available seats.

Families & Communities & Rising

Our mission is to educate and empower children, families, communities and organizations by delivering unique educational and supportive services.

Our vision is to create environments where children, families, educators and communities achieve full potential and commit to lifelong learning.

  • Service: We serve children, families, organizations and communities with mutual respect.
  • Diversity: We respect, embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of every child and family and appreciate that differences can come in experience, culture, abilities and languages.
    Innovation: We constantly strive to redefine the standards of excellence in everything we do.
  • Integrity: We do the right thing and we do what we say.
Durham Head Start

Durham Head Start & Early Head Start serves 483 children and families throughout Durham County to ensure all children in the program have a solid start in life. Head Start & Early Head Start (DHS-EHS) is a premier provider of developmental and educational services for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. DHS-EHS delivers comprehensive child development services for low income children and families throughout Durham, age 6-weeks through age 5 years. A majority of care and instruction is provided for children in a center-base setting with some Early Head Start (6wks-36 mos.) being offered in partnership with private child care centers in Durham County.

Durham Head Start & Early Head Start promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. DHS-EHS is comprehensive in actively engaging parents in their children’s learning as well as assisting parents in making progress toward their own educational, literacy and employment goals. DHS-EHS strives to provide a high quality preschool experience by educating children, empowering families and expanding community collaborations.

Durham Public Schools

DPS Pre-K classrooms are designed for children who will be 4 years old on or before August 31st of the current school year who demonstrate great academic need.  The DPS Pre-kindergarten program expects parents to participate in a variety of opportunities including parent meetings, educational workshops, and volunteering in the classrooms.  This program provides a 6 to 6 ½ hour day of instructional time.

We also have the Whitted School, which is designed for children who will be 4 years old on or before August 31st of the current school year. This program is similar to other DPS preschool programs, but does not require great academic need and is fee based using the Durham Pre-K approved sliding scale for families. The Whitted School also provides before and after school care for a separate fee.

Durham Public Schools also provides exceptional children services for preschoolers with disabilities. Our Child Find Coordinator, Leslie Greene, can be reached at 919-560-3933 to speak with parents about their child’s developmental needs.

Community Partners



Since 2011, the Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) has provided a comprehensive pipeline of high-quality supports spanning from birth to college and career children and families living in Durham, North Carolina. In partnership with over 40 partner organizations—including city and county agencies, schools and universities, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, civic groups, and more—DCI aligns existing resources to fill gaps for children and families; when no such solution exists, DCI steps in to create programming itself. DCI partners to help families navigate the Durham PreK application process.

Book Harvest

Book Harvest provides an abundance of books and ongoing literacy support to families and their children from birth and serves as a model for communities committed to ensuring that children are lifelong readers and learners. For the first decade of life, literacy is our focus; books are our tools; birth is our starting gate; and parents are the change agents. From Book Babies literacy coaching home visits for Medicaid-eligible newborns, and partnerships with their parents to work together toward the goal of kindergarten readiness; to Books on Break in elementary schools, where kids choose books for themselves at the end of the school year and keep them forever, promoting reading excitement all summer long; to Community Book Bank partnerships with other organizations to ensure access to books and literacy tools for all children in North Carolina, the goal of all our programming is to ensure all children have the opportunity and tools to become confident, eager readers and learners and their parents have the support they need to help them get there.