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Department of Early Childhood Education 


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Frequently Asked Questions about Preschool


  1. How many seats were added to the program this year? 


The lottery was conducted on March 26, 2024. Results were emailed directly to applicants. 


Sixty new seats were added to the program for the 24-25 school year for a total of 195 seats for the 24-25 school year. Currently enrolled 3 year old students are automatically enrolled as 4 year old students. Seats are also reserved for students with Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs). As per NJDOE special education code, students with IEPs are placed in the preschool program at the discretion of the Child Study Team.  As a result of all of the above mentioned factors, 115 General Education students were selected in the 24-25 lottery.


  1. Do I have to be a Nutley resident to enroll my child in the preschool program?


Yes, you must be a Nutley resident to attend the Nutley Raising Raiders preschool program. Please note you must provide all required proofs of residency in order for your child to attend the preschool program. Registration information can be found here. 


  1. Does my child have to be toilet trained to enroll in the program? 


No, your child does not need to be toilet trained to enroll in the program. Our staff will work with families on toilet training while enrolled in the program. 


  1. How old does my child have to be to participate in the program?


For the 24-25 school year, students must be 3 years of age on or before October 1, 2024 or 4 years of age on or before October 1, 2024. If your child turns 5 years old on or before October 1, 2024, you must register your child for kindergarten. 


  1. My student was placed on the waitlist. Now what?


Students selected from the lottery must complete the registration process by May 1, 2024. Failure to do so will result in loss of the seat and moving to the waitlist. Families may also be called from the waitlist in the event a family declines their seat, or disenrolls from the program. 


  1. How long is the preschool program? Does my child have to attend five days a week? Does my child have to attend full day?


The program is five days a week, 6 hours a day. Preschool follows the Nutley school calendar for all school breaks, delayed openings and early dismissals. Arrival and dismissal time may vary by location. Students must attend five days a week for the 6 hour program, provided they are not sick.


  1. Where will the preschool classes be held for the 2024-2025 school year? 


We anticipate having 10 district classrooms and three provider classrooms for the 24-25 school year. Four classrooms will be housed at the Nutley Preschool Annex at St. Pauls, four classrooms at John Walker Middle School, one classroom at Spring Garden Elementary School, one at Washington Elementary School.  Additionally, we anticipate two classrooms will be available at The Community School and one at Preschool Learn Time. Please note that locations are subject to change. 


  1. Is extended day available for preschool students? 


Currently, extended day services are available at our two provider locations, The Community School and Preschool Learn Time. The district is also exploring offering extended day at our locations. 


  1. Will parent preference be taken into account for placement of my child?


Student placement is at the discretion of the district. A variety of factors are considered when determining student placement. Parental preference may be considered but cannot be guaranteed. 


  1. What curriculum is used in the Raising Raiders Preschool program?


The district implements state approved, ‚ÄúThe Creative Curriculum for Preschool‚ÄĚ in our preschool classrooms.¬†


  1. How does the lottery work? 


Every entrant application is placed on either the selected list or the waitlist based on the order in which their application is randomly drawn. Parents will be notified via email of their child’s status once the lottery is conducted. Those children who did not get selected are immediately placed on a waitlist in the order of their assigned number via the lottery process.


We will fill the 13 preschool classrooms as follows: 


Currently enrolled 3 year-old Nutley resident students in our preschool program in 2023-2024 will be automatically enrolled as 4 year-olds in 2024-2025. 


Selected applicants from the lottery will be slotted into a classroom if and when their registration process is completed by May 1st. Failure to do so will result in us calling applicants from the waitlist in order. 


Children with IEPs do not participate in the lottery. As per NJDOE code, students with IEPs will be placed in the preschool program at the discretion of the Child Study Team.


Please see below for the 24-25 Raising Raiders Preschool Application.

Tuition-Free Full-Day Preschool

If you would like to submit an application for enrollment for the Raising Raiders PreK program for the 24-25 school year, please click HERE. 


Currently enrolled students do not need to submit another application. Students on the 23-24 waitlist but not enrolled WILL need to complete another application.  Completion of this application does not guarantee placement. More information regarding placement will be provided on the website at a later date. Please check the website for updated information Applications for students received after the lottery will be automatically placed on the waitlist. 


Raising Raiders PreK Program Information 

Nutley Public Schools is fortunate to have the opportunity to provide free, high-quality preschool to enrolled students. We provide a 6 hour school day program, Monday through Friday, for our 3 and 4 year old students. Hours are typically 8:20-2:20 but are subject to vary depending on the location. Raising Raiders follows the Nutley Public Schools calendar, in all locations. 


AGE REQUIREMENT: In order to be eligible for a 3-year-old class, your child must be 3-years-old by October 1, 2024.  In order to be eligible for a 4-year-old classroom, your child must be 4-years-old by October 1, 2024.  


All students must be a resident of Nutley in order to maintain enrollment in our program. 


Any questions regarding the Raising Raiders PreK program should be directed to April Vitiello, Coordinator of Early Childhood at 



Preschool for Students with Disabilities

Preschool students with disabilities may be eligible for special education services as indicated under federal law, IDEA, and state law, N.J.A.C. 1:6A. In order to receive special education services, the pre-school child will need to be referred to the Child Study Team for evaluation. Children may be eligible for services on the day of their third birthday. The initial referral should be directed to the Director of Special Services. Once a referral is received, a meeting will be convened with the parent and the pre-school Child Study Team. If the parents and the child study team agree to conduct an evaluation, an evaluation plan will be designed. An evaluation plan typically includes a multi-disciplinary set of evaluations such as a cognitive assessment, social assessment and a speech and language evaluation. Other evaluations may be added if needed. Once the evaluations are completed, an eligibility meeting will be held to determine the student's eligibility for services. If the student is eligible for special education services, an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) will be developed and services will be initiated. Please visit the Special Services page for more information. 



Scholarly articles on the Benefits of Preschool




The Nutley School District serves approximately 4,100 students in Kindergarten through grade 12. The five elementary schools serve students K-6 and include Lincoln School, Radcliffe School, Spring Garden School, Washington School and Yantacaw School. John H. Walker Middle School serves students in grades 7-8 while Nutley High School addresses the needs of students in grades 9-12.