Creating a runway for success for Wake County’s youngest children.

Wake ThreeSchool Application Center

Wake ThreeSchool is a new early learning program for Wake County three-year-olds that will open its classrooms in the fall of 2022.

This new program will provide early education to young children in a play-based, dynamic way like the nationally recognized NC Pre-K program. Research shows when three-year-old children receive support for learning early, they learn better, gain stronger skills and are better prepared for success in Pre-K and Kindergarten ahead. This is because at age three, a child’s brain is building connections rapidly in a way that is unique to this time of life. This “framework” is what all future learning is built upon.

In the fall of 2022, Wake ThreeSchool will open a limited number of classrooms, serving up to 100 children.

Interested in applying for the 2022-2023 school year?

To be considered for Wake ThreeSchool for the 2022-23 school year, your child must be 3 years old on or before August 31, 2022.

Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes (below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level) and the following priority groups:

  • Children with documented health or learning issues
  • Children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Children that speak a language other than English at home
  • Children with parents/guardians who are active-duty members of the armed forces

How to apply for SY 2022-2023:

 1. Apply Online Here


2. Print the application and mail or fax it in

Choose your application to print:

You will need to attach this supporting information to your online or printed application:
  1. Copy of your child’s birth certificate
  2. Proof of residence* (current light/water bill and lease agreement or statement from homeowner)*Reside with another family?  Attach a notarized statement from the homeowner and a copy of their current light/water bill.
  3. Proof of all income: Please provide pay stubs for each employed family member/parent/guardian, child support, retirement, worker’s compensation, statement from supervisor, 2021 IRS 1040, unemployment/social security benefits letter or copies of all W-2s from 2021. (If you get paid weekly, submit four consecutive pay stubs; bi-weekly/twice monthly, submit two consecutive pay stubs; monthly, submit two full month pay stubs.)If “0” income is reported on your application, please click below to print a Wake ThreeSchool Statement of Zero Income form to complete and submit/attach with your application.
    Wake ThreeSchool Statement of Zero Income English
    Wake ThreeSchool Statement of Zero Income Spanish 

Additional Income Documentation Forms:

Wake ThreeSchool Documentation of Income English
Wake ThreeSchool Documentation of Income SpanishWake ThreeSchool Employer Verification Form English
Wake ThreeSchool Employer Verification Form Spanish

4.  Documentation of child’s additional needs (ex. parents in military service, developmental, educational, or chronic health concerns)

You can mail or fax your application and supporting information (see list above) to: 

Wake ThreeSchool Application Center
Wake County Smart Start
4901 Waters Edge Drive, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27606

Or Fax – 919-851-9530


How old does my child need to be to participate?

Children must be age three by August 31st to be eligible to apply.

Is there a cost for attendance?

ThreeSchool is free to income eligible families, representing $10,000 in tuition support.

How do I know if my family is income eligible?

Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Persons in family/household Poverty guideline
1 $25,760
2 $34,840
3 $43,920
4 $53,000
5 $62,080
6 $71,160
7 $80,240
8 $89,320
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,540 for each additional person.


When will I know if my child received a placement?

Applications for SY 22-23 will be accepted beginning in January of 2022. Applications received by June 15th will receive notification of placement or wait list by the end of July.

Applications received after June 15th will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Are applications processed first come, first serve?

Applications are not processed on a first come, first serve basis.

Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes (below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level) and for other related priority groups such as children with documented health or learning issues, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and/or have parents who are active-duty members of the armed forces or speak a language other than English at home. Applications will be reviewed for these priority groups.

Why is Wake ThreeSchool needed?

Wake ThreeSchool will expand publicly funded services for three-year-olds – an identified need. Currently low-wealth families who need help accessing early learning programs can seek Child Care Subsidy assistance. However, Child Care Subsidy does not support all the families with three-year-olds who need it, and the early learning programs families are linked to are not part of an integrated system of Pre-K preparation for Kindergarten. Wake ThreeSchool will use an intensive model, specific curriculum and shared measures for success. The program bridges the gap in publicly funded services for children that have aged out of the State’s infant-toddler services and not yet eligible for NC Pre-K and in turn improves the outcome for children’s learning.


If you have specific questions about Wake ThreeSchool, please contact:

Melissa Radice-Peguero, Wake ThreeSchool Program Assistant, at mradice-peguero@wakesmartstart.org