The Dartmouth Public School’s Preschool Program brings together children who have special needs with those who exhibit developmentally appropriate skills and can serve as peer partners. Each child in the group is a unique individual.  Together the children learn, grow, play and form friendships.  Our preschool classrooms utilize research-based curriculum for all academic areas.  Our programs emphasize high-quality, developmentally appropriate activities which address literacy, math, social, language, fine and gross motor skills.


    We offer a full-day program: Monday through Friday, 9:05-3:05.  A breakfast program is available to all preschoolers beginning at 8:30.


    Parents of peer partners are responsible for the transportation of their child to and from school.


    There is a monthly fee charged for peer partner participation in our preschool program.  The fee is due and payable the first day of each month from September to June.  Checks are payable to Town of Dartmouth.  You are also able to pay online utilizing the Town of Dartmouth website, https://www.town.dartmouth.ma.us/.


    Applications for new school years are accepted from early February to mid-March every year. To complete the application, please download the online form at https://www.dartmouth.school/Page/1885 or stop by our registration center located in our Administrative Offices at 8 Bush Street. Applications will also be available at your local school.

    Dartmouth Public School District utilizes the lottery system when the number of applicants exceeds the number of available seats. Please note applications must be postmarked or emailed on or before the mid-March date to be considered for the lottery.

    Parents will be notified in early April of their child's acceptance into our preschool program. Students placed on a previous year’s waiting list are still required to apply each year. Placement on a previous year’s waiting list does not affect the following year’s lottery.

    In order to apply for our program:

    • Applicants must be three years old prior to September 1
    • Applicants must be toilet trained prior to the start of school
    • Must reside in the Town of Dartmouth
    • Guardian/s must provide transportation
    • Priority will be given to children who will be 4 years old prior to September 1


    Once your application is completed, we will contact you to schedule your child for a screening session sometime in May. Our Preschool screening is a brief measure of developmental readiness, fine motor, and speech/language skills.  If through the screening process your child shows a possible delay in either speech-language, occupational therapy or preschool readiness, we may contact you to do a further evaluation in those areas.  This will not affect your child’s ability to access a preschool slot through the lottery process.SPECIAL EDUCATION SLOTS

    In accordance with 603 CMR 28.04(1), students who may be eligible for preschool special education services may be referred for an evaluation by a parent/guardian, an Early Intervention provider, or any person in a caregiving or professional position concerned with the student's development.

    The Dartmouth Public School System works in collaboration with Early Intervention service providers to ensure a smooth transition from EI to public school services. Evaluations are completed by Dartmouth to determine if placement in our preschool program is required to receive these services.

    Sometimes, as a result of the screening process, further evaluations are recommended by the staff to determine if a child has a delay in one or more areas.  If so, this child might also be considered for a special education slot

    Frequently Asked Questions about Cushman’s Preschool Program

    1. What are the hours of the full day preschool program?

    Our program runs Monday through Friday from 9:05 A.M -3:05 P.M. On early release days preschool students are dismissed at 11:35 A.M.  A calendar providing these dates will be sent home at the beginning of school. 

    1. What is the drop-off procedure?

    Parents and guardians must enter the access road on Sol-e-mar Street just beyond the Southworth Library parking lot and follow the road to Cushman School to drop off and pick up their children. Parents and guardians are required to escort their children into the fenced-in area to the back door of Cushman School where staff will be available to assist them. Preschool students may be dropped off between 8:55 A.M. and 9:05 A.M. Doors close promptly at 9:05 A.M. and students are considered tardy if they arrive after this time. Students may only enter/exit through the front doors in the event of tardiness or early dismissal.

    1. What is the pick-up procedure?

    Parent/guardian pick-up/dismissal for preschool students is at 3:05 P.M. Dismissal follows the same procedure as morning arrival, with students being picked up at the back door of Cushman School and the parking location being on the road accessed on Sol-e-mar Street just beyond Southworth Library.

    1. What is the attendance policy?

    Children are expected to attend school every day that it is in session except in the event of illness or for other acceptable reasons. We strongly discourage families from taking vacations when school is in session. It is important for children to receive continuous instruction; every day missed sets a child back and creates added pressure on the child and on the teachers. If your child is going to be absent, you must call Cushman School to let us know. Otherwise, you will receive an automated phone call from the district. If you know the night before, you may call us at 508-996-3926 and leave a message on our student absence line.

    1. Please explain the lunch program.

    Lunch is served daily in the school cafeteria at 11:15 A.M. for preschool students.  The menu for the week is listed on the District website under “Parent Information”.  Please know that occasionally the published menu has to be changed because particular supplies have not been delivered on time. The price of a school lunch is $2.50, including milk.  Students who choose to bring lunch from home can purchase milk for $.60 and dessert for $.75.  You may prepay your child's lunch for the week or periodically send in a certain amount of money to be applied to your child’s debit card. The debit card is used by your child to purchase lunch. Send cash or a check payable to Town of Dartmouth in a sealed envelope on Monday mornings.  Details about this program will be sent home with your child by our cafeteria manager.
    Free and reduced lunch applications are always available in the office.  Please feel free to complete the forms to see if you qualify for reduced or free lunch.  All information is strictly confidential.

    1. Do the students have recess?

    Each classroom teacher allows for a brief morning recess in their schedule. In addition, the preschool students participate in lunch recess from 11:35 A.M. - 11:55 A.M. All recesses are held outdoors unless the weather is inclement or determined to be too cold. Please have your child dress according to the weather. 

    1. Is there nap/rest time?

    Preschool students have quiet time when they return from lunch recess. Each student is given a rest mat, and classroom teachers will provide information as to other items students may bring in for rest time (small blanket, small pillow).

    1. Is there snack time?

    Each preschool class will have a daily snack time. Kindly pack a “peanut free snack” and a drink.  Also, please do not allow your child to bring containers made of glass. There will be snack milk available for preschool students to purchase.  Preschool teachers will provide parents/guardians with milk price information at the start of the school year.

    1. Should I provide additional clothing to be kept at school?

    Teachers ask that you provide a complete change of clothing for your child to keep in his/her cubby here at school, in case of accidents.  Keep in mind the change of seasons and make sure additional clothing is appropriate for current weather. Please label all personal items such as outer clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. so we may return any lost items.

    1. Do the classrooms follow a standardized curriculum?

    We utilize the Storytown Reading Program, the ABC Music and Me Literacy Program and the Calendar Math Program. In addition, we incorporate thematic units for social studies and science.  All curriculums are aligned with the Pre-Kindergarten Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core Standards. In addition, our preschool students receive instruction in the special areas of Art, Music and Physical Education. They also attend story time at the Southworth Library once a week.