Mayor Muriel Bowser 

Early Care and Education

Of the over 26,000 children under age three in the District of Columbia, more than half of their families struggle to afford child care. DC is working to expand families’ access to high-quality early childhood development programs.

Programs and initiatives:

For more information about efforts to increase access to high-quality early childhood education, visit the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) website and read the 2015-2018 OSSE Strategic Plan.

Child Care

My Child Care DC is a place for parents to access meaningful information about child care in DC at their fingertips. You can search for licensed child care, browse and compare child care options and learn about helpful early learning resources.

To find child care options near you, contact the My Child Care DC Hotline at (202) 829-2500 or visit My Child Care DC. You can also read more about My Child Care DC in Mayor Bowser’s October 2017 announcement here.

Early Learning


LearnDC is a one-stop resource for information about services in DC for young children and their families, and resources for supporting healthy early childhood development.

My School DC Lottery

My School DC is the common application and common lottery for the District’s public school options. Find everything you need right here to learn, apply and enroll your child. My School DC Hotline: (202) 888-6336 or Email: [email protected].

Early Learning Quality Improvement Network

The Quality Improvement Network (QIN) is a citywide effort to build capacity, increase access and enhance the quality of infant and toddler care in the District of Columbia. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), as the lead agency for this initiative, collaborates with other district child and family service agencies to ensure effective service coordination and support for the children and families enrolled in the QIN. For more information about the QIN visit OSSE’s website here.

Head Start

Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities and receive free medical and dental care, healthy meals and snacks. To learn more about the program and find a provider, visit the Head Start website.


The District provides free high-quality Pre-Kindergarten education services in DC Public Schools, public charter schools and community-based organizations. To learn more about Universal Pre-K in the District, please visit the Early Learning website.

Early Literacy

Early Literacy Resources

Learning to read and write begins before children start school. The District offers a number of resources to help you prepare your child to learn.

There are many ways to incorporate singing, talking and reading in your everyday life -- and many benefits for your little one.

DC Public Library has materials for all ages and stages of child development, from board books to music and videos, as well as adult literacy programs for parents.

Books from Birth is a DC Public Library program that mails a free book each month to enrolled children from birth until five months. Visit the website or contact [email protected].

The Sing, Talk and Read (STAR) program helps parents and caregivers learn how to weave singing, talking and reading into daily activities.

Story Time at the library incorporates the early literacy skills, such as vocabulary building, phonological awareness and letter knowledge that children must master before they can learn to read. Every week the library offers programs matched to the typical attention spans and developmental levels of different ages of children. To find a story time near you, visit the website.