Preschoolers playing

Apply for DHSP Preschool Lottery

Human Service Programs

The Department of Human Service Programs has seven high-quality preschools located throughout Cambridge. All DHSP preschools are full-time programs, operating 5 days a week and 12 months each year. Cambridge children are eligible for preschool enrollment when they are between the ages of 2 years, 9 months and 4 years, 5 months. Preschool tuition fees are determined on a sliding scale, and DHSP Preschool enrollment is determined by a lottery system.

Parents can enter their child in the lottery the year before they would attend preschool. Cambridge children are eligible to apply for the October 2021 DHSP Preschool Lottery, for enrollment in the 2022-2023 academic year, if they were born between April 1, 2018 and December 1, 2019.

The application period for the DHSP Preschool Lottery has closed.

If you have questions, please contact or 617-349-6254. For additional information about DHSP Preschools, visit the Department of Human Service Programs' website.

አማርኛ (Amharic)

የ DHSP ቅድመ ትምህርት ቤት ሎተሪ ማመልከቻ አሁን ይገኛል!
ደብዳቤ ከ Meghan White፣ Division Head
የ DHSP ቅድመ ትምህርት ቤት ሎተሪ ሂደት
የ DHSP ቅድመ ትምህርት ቤት ሎተሪ ተደጋግሞ የሚነሱ ጥያቄዎች
2022 – 2023 DHSP ቅድመ ትምህርት ቤት ክፍያ

বাংলা (Bengali)

DHSP প্রি-স্কুল লটারি আবেদন এখন পাওয়া যাচ্ছে!
Meghan White, বিভাগীয় প্রধানের থেকে চিঠি
DHSP প্রি-স্কুল লটারি প্রক্রিয়া
DHSP প্রি-স্কুল লটারির প্রায়শই জিজ্ঞাসিত প্রশ্নাবলী
2022 – 2023 DHSP প্রি-স্কুল টিউশন

Kreyòl Ayisyen (Haitian Creole)

Aplikasyon Lotri Preskolè DHSP disponib kounye a!
Lèt Meghan White, Chèf Divizyon
Pwosesis Lotri Preskolè DHSP
Kesyon Yo Poze Souvan sou Lotri Preskolè DHSP
Fré Eskolè DHSP 2022 – 2023

عربى (Arabic)

طلب التقديم للتسجيل بقرعة التأهيل للحضانة التابعة لإدارة (DHSP) متوفر الآن!

رسالة من ميغان وايت، رئيسة القسم


عملية التسجيل بقرعة التأهيل للحضانة التابعة لإدارة (DHSP)

الأسئلة الشائعة حول قرعة التأهيل للحضانة التابعة لإدارة (DHSP)

الرسوم الدراسية للحضانة التابعة لإدارة (DHSP) للعام الدراسي 2022 – 2023

Español (Spanish)

¡Ya está disponible la inscripción a la Lotería de Preescolar DHSP!
Carta de Meghan White, Jefa de División
Procedimiento de la Lotería de Preescolar DHSP
Preguntas Frecuentes sobre la Lotería de Preescolar DHSP
Matrícula del Preescolar DHSP 2022 - 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to enter the DHSP Preschool Lottery?

Cambridge residents with age-eligible children can enter the DHSP Preschool Lottery. For the October 2021 lottery for enrollment in the 2022-2023 school year, children with a date of birth between April 1, 2018 - December 1, 2019 are considered age-eligible.

How do I enter the DHSP Preschool Lottery?

Lottery applications are accepted in October 2021 for the school year beginning in September 2022. Your child is considered age-eligible for preschool enrollment when they are between the ages of 2 years 9 months – 4 years 5 months. For example, to enter the lottery in October 2021 (for enrollment in the 2022-2023 school year), your child’s date of birth needs to be between April 1, 2018 – December 1, 2019.

In order for your lottery application to be considered complete, you must submit the following documents:

  • DHSP Preschool Lottery Application
  • Proof of Income and Family Size: Tax return and 4 consecutive pay stubs (or last 30 days) or current award letters for any benefits you are receiving (TANF, SSI, SNAP, WIC, etc.)
  • Proof of Child’s Age: Child’s birth certificate or child’s passport
  • Proof of Address: Lease, mortgage, letter from housing provider, utility bill dated within the last 2 months, or Doubling Up Form

Where can I apply for the DHSP Preschool Lottery?

The application period for the 2022-2023 Preschool Lottery has closed. Applicants will be notified about whether their child has a seat in a DHSP Preschool in December 2021.

How do I increase my odds of getting a seat in a DHSP Preschool?

The more programs you select the better your chances are for getting a seat. If there are any programs that you wouldn’t be able to send your child to because of hours or location, please do not select them. If you are selected for a seat in any program that you chose and you decline that seat, you forfeit your place in the lottery. You cannot request a transfer to another program.

When will I find out if my child has a seat in a DHSP Preschool?

You will find out in December 2021 following the October 2021 lottery.

If I am offered a seat in a DHSP Preschool, do I need to confirm that I want to enroll my child in the program?

Yes. All families who are offered a seat will be asked to accept or decline the seat by January 31, 2022.  If we do not hear from a family by January 31, we will offer the seat to another child in the waiting pool.

Is there sibling preference in the DHSP Preschool Lottery?

Siblings of children currently enrolled in one of our Preschool programs at the time of the lottery are prioritized, but are not guaranteed a seat.

Can I enter my child in the DHSP Preschool Lottery if I am a City of Cambridge or Cambridge Public Schools employee, but not a Cambridge resident?

Cambridge residents are our top priority. For the October 2021 lottery for enrollment for the 2022 – 2023 school year, City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Schools employees who are not Cambridge residents will be able to enter the lottery. 

We will reevaluate the ability of City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Schools employees who are not Cambridge residents each year prior to the lottery. In place of the Proof of Address documentation, City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Schools employees who are not Cambridge residents are required to submit proof of employment.


What do I do if I am added to the waiting pool for the DHSP Lottery?

As seats become available, we will contact families from the waiting pool to offer the open seat. The waiting pool will remain in place until we start accepting applications for the next lottery (October 2022). In October 2022, the waiting pool expires and families with children that are still age-eligible are welcomed to enter the lottery again for the next year’s enrollment.

If you need help finding an alternative program, there are the following resources for finding preschools:


How much does it cost to attend a DHSP Preschool?

The DHSP Preschool tuition rates are on a sliding scale based on income. The scale is released each year with the DHSP Preschool Lottery materials. In the Department of Human Service Programs, we strive to make our programs accessible to all Cambridge families. We accept vouchers (see below) and we also offer significant tuition assistance for families that qualify. The amount of tuition assistance a family receives is based on gross family income, household size, and personal hardship.

For the 2022 – 2023 school year our tuition rates are:

Gross Family Income

Tuition Rate Per Day*

Tuition Rate Per Month

$217,501 – above




$163,126 - $217,500




$130,501 - 163,125




$108,751 – $130,500




$0 - $108,750

The base daily rate for tuition is $40.15. All families with a Gross Family Income between $0 - $108,750 will qualify for some tuition assistance. The amount of the tuition assistance will be based on gross family income, household size, and personal hardship. Please contact us for more information on individual scholarship rates.

*Tuition is charged based on the monthly rate. The daily rate is calculated based on having an average of 22 billable days in a month. 

If I would be paying the top rate, do I need to submit proof of income and family size?

If your income falls in the top range, you do not have to prove income or family size. You do still need to prove your child’s age and address.

What are the hours of operation of the DHSP Preschools?

All of the DHSP Preschools run 12 months a year and 5 days a week (Monday – Friday). The Haggerty, Kennedy/Longfellow, M.L. King and Windsor Preschools run from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The King Open, Morse, and Peabody Preschools run from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Are there any part time seats in the DHSP Preschools?

We do not offer part time seats in any of our programs. All seats are for 5 days a week and 12 months a year.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

You do not need to fill out any additional paperwork! We use the documents you submit to enter the lottery to calculate tuition rates, including tuition assistance.

What COVID-19 precautions are the DHSP Preschools currently taking?

We have incorporated many COVID-19 precautions in our programs, including increased cleaning procedures, mask wearing, social distancing, and COVID-19 testing. The specific procedures we implement change as the science evolves around preventing the spread of COVID-19. Our top priority is the health and safety of our children, families, and staff. Therefore, we work closely with the Cambridge Public Health Department to implement and follow COVID-19 protocols and make decisions for our programs.

Page was posted on 4/9/2021 11:53 AM
Page was last modified on 4/12/2022 10:17 AM
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