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Early Childhood Education (Preschool)



What is the Hardin County Schools' Preschool Program?

The Hardin County Schools' Preschool Program is a State funded program designed to help preschool children who are at risk of beginning school behind their classmates.  The program is for four-year-old children who are economically disadvantaged or for three- and four-year-old children who have identified disabilities or speech delays.  Children are determined eligible through a screening and assessment process conducted by the early childhood staff.

What services do the Hardin County Schools' Preschool Program offer?

The Hardin County Schools' Preschool Program offers the following components:

  • Preschool services for eligible children at no cost to the parent
  • Activities that develop creativity and thinking skills through play
  • Partnerships with the parents through parent education
  • Cooperation among programs and with other agencies to provide services
  • Developmental, as well as hearing and vision screenings


The mission of the Hardin County Schools' Preschool Program, a fully integrated, comprehensive program, is to enrich the lives of children and their families by supporting the child's development in the areas of physical, social, emotional and intellectual and by moving the child and family toward self-sufficiency and social competence.


Click to download a copy of the Preschool Handbook.

Apply for Preschool today!

Click here to complete an online application.  Applications will be automatically emailed to upon submission.

Click here to download an application to complete by hand and mail to the Early Childhood Office at the following address:
Hardin County Schools
Early Childhood Office
65 W.A. Jenkins Rd
Elizabethtown, KY  40160

Call 270-769-8911 for questions!

Program Impact

How does the program impact early childhood education?

The Hardin County School Early Childhood Program is successfully preparing children for school by providing opportunities for them to develop school readiness skills in an environment that encourages children to have fun while learning. 

Research shows that children that attend high-quality preschool programs help children develop social and pre-academic skills that will help them succeed in kindergarten and throughout their educational experience.

What steps do you take to ensure “quality”?

All preschool classrooms in the Hardin County School District work hard to ensure “quality”. All classrooms use the (ECRERS) Environmental Rating Revised scale to monitor their classroom environment as well as guidelines from NAEYC and the Kentucky Self Study.

Other points that demonstrate “quality”.

  • Second Steps Violence Prevention Program used in every preschool classroom
  • Augmentative communication and assistive technology provided for all preschool children in need
  • All classrooms are supported by skilled therapists (Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech-Language Therapist, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) through a transdisciplinary team approach


  • Preschool Curriculum Guides, designed by Hardin County Schools Preschool Teachers, are aligned with the Early Childhood Standards. 
  • The Creative Curriculum Teaching Strategies Gold is the assessment instrument used with all preschool children. IEP goals are developed from this tool.
  • A Progress Summary is used to communicate with parents their child's strength and plan goals for each child in every developmental area.


  • Preschool classrooms facilitate collaboration and smooth transition with primary program
  • Collaboration through a blended program with Head Start in 2 elementary schools
  • Every classroom has collaborative programs with their own family resource center


  • Free developmental screening offered monthly to families of 3 and 4 year old children in the Hardin County Schools community
  • Successful Child Find Recruitment Campaign throughout the county.

Screening & Assessments

Free developmental screening is offered to every family of 3 and 4-year-old children in the Hardin County School District area. Families are encouraged to call the Early Childhood Office to schedule an appointment (769-8911).

What is involved in the preschool screening?

All children enrolling in the preschool program will complete a free preschool screening. Hardin County uses the Dial-4 (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning) Screener. This screening is a quick assessment of the child in key areas of development such as:

  • Concepts
  • Speech and language
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Arm and leg coordination
  • Social skills
  • Self-help skills
  • Vision and hearing will also be completed

Special Education for Early Childhood

I have a special needs child; will my child be in a special class?

The Hardin County Schools’ preschool program is designed to include and meet the needs of children across a wide range of abilities in a full inclusion setting. We have found (supported by research) all children benefit and learn from each other. Unless a child’s IEP requires otherwise, children with disabilities are educated in the classroom with typically developing peers.

Am I responsible for bringing my child to school each day?

During the ARC meeting (Admission and Release Committee), transportation for your child will be discussed. At that time it will be decided if your child is able to ride the bus with his/her preschool peers or if special transportation will be needed. We will see that your child is safely transported to and from school each day.

My child needs the help of different therapists. What is available in the Hardin County Preschool Education Program?

The preschool teacher is dually certified in general education and special education. He/She will provide specially designed instruction to meet each child's special education needs. Children learn when their goals become part of their everyday world. Therapists work in collaboration with the classroom staff to make sure each child’s goals are embedded into their daily routine. This helps the child to practice daily and accomplish his/her goals. Speech-Language therapists provide services to children with speech/language disabilities. The physical therapist provides services to children with physical disabilities while the occupational therapist serves children with fine motor and sensory disabilities. Teachers of students with visual impairments works with children that have been identified as visually impaired and the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing serves children that are identified as hearing impaired. Within some elementary schools, children in preschool also receive extra assistance from the Title I staff to assist with various cognitive and language goals.

Parent Involvement

Will I be able to meet with my child’s teacher as he/she begins school?

Home visits are made as your child begins school. This is the time for you to share with your child’s teacher goals and concerns you have for your child. Your child’s teacher will also do a home visit at the end of the school year to share progress and information about your child’s program the next year.  As the needs arise, there may be more home visits throughout the year.      

How will I know what is happening in my child’s classroom? 

  • Your child’s teacher will make frequent contacts through monthly classroom newsletters and individual notes. Phone contacts are also made. 
  • Parents are encouraged to frequently observe in the classroom, spend time volunteering or have lunch with their child. Parents are always welcome and invited to assist on field trips and special activities. 

How will I know how my child is doing in preschool?

Your child’s teacher will schedule a conference in the middle of the school year (late January-Mid March).  During this conference, your child’s teacher will share your child’s strengths and set goals in your child’s area to grow.   You are encouraged to contact your child’s teacher at anytime you would like information regarding progress. 

What other ways can I be involved with the school? 

  • You will have input into workshops that will be offered in your child’s preschool classroom one Friday per month.   
  • You can attend other parent workshops at different times throughout the school year through your Family Resource Center. Various parent support groups are also available.
  • You can be active in your schools Parent Teacher Organization and have input in your school’s Site Based Council.


Per Kentucky law, all children must be enrolled in and attend school between the ages of 6 and 18. Children can enter primary school at age 5, but only if their 5th birthday is on or before October 1 of the current school year. 

The entry date changed from October 1 to August 1. A child who is 5 years old or who turns 5 by August 1st may attend school. A child who is 6 years old or who turns 6 by August 1, must attend school.