Wake ThreeSchool Q&A

Q & A for Wake County’s Local Early Childhood Service and Program Providers

Wake ThreeSchool will expand publicly funded services for three-year-olds, building on the NC Pre-K model. Currently low-wealth families who need help to access early learning programs can seek Child Care Subsidy assistance. However, this funding source does not support all the families 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 – a system that would use an intensive model, specific curriculum, and shared measures for success. Wake ThreeSchool bridges the gap in publicly-funded services for children too old for the State’s infant-toddler services and too young for NC Pre-K and in turn improves the outcomes for children’s learning.

Whenever a new change to the system occurs, it naturally raises questions for those currently providing services to the same-aged children. Below, we are providing what we know now about the County Commissioner’s new program and how you can be part of implementation planning.

What we know NOW about Wake ThreeSchool:

  • A year of planning, research, needs assessment, and capacity building will launch in the fall of 2021. At the bottom of this page is a link to ask questions and provide comment. Your input will be shared with the first-year developers of this work.
  • The program will open in Fall of 2022 serving up to 100 children at limited sites. This allows for the model to be piloted before expected expansion.
  • Wake ThreeSchool will have a 6.5 hour programmatic day.
  • The curriculum, site and teacher requirements will be similar to NC Pre-K. These elements will be more fully developed in the planning year.
  • The system of recruitment and enrollment will look similar to NC Pre-K’s model.
  • The research is very strong on the return on investment both financially and on early learning outcomes. You can read more online about why Wake County’s leaders are launching Wake ThreeSchool.

What is on the horizon:

  • The launch of an intensive year of capacity building to ready the community, as mentioned above.
  • Considering how wrap-around services could work, and development for linkages to other needed services for families participating.
  • How we might manage impacts on providers that will be affected by slot movements of three-year-olds to be served.
  • How to ready more providers to become sites for future expansion.
  • Following of President Biden’s proposal for universal Pre-K for three- and four-year-olds and how if approved it impacts these local plans.


We want to hear from you about what questions you have, and what topics you want to ensure are considered in Year 1 planning. YOU are the experts in the field! Ready to provide input now? Click here to submit your thoughts.