STEP Description

    Starting Towards Excellence in Pre-School (STEP) is a state (Virginia Preschool Initiative Grant - VPI) and locally funded program serving four year old children from low income families.

    The curriculum is aligned with Virginia's Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), Birth-Five Guidelines, and focuses on early literacy and early math instruction, as well as developmentally appropriate social and behavioral expectations. The goal is to close the achievement gap that might exist between the STEP students, who may be referred to as at-risk, and enable them to perform on a level consistent with their more advantaged peers.

    Your family may qualify for the program if you:
    • reside in Loudoun County, Virginia and
    • have a child who will be 4 by September 30 and
    • meet income guidelines or
      • have a child with a diagnosed disability or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or
      • receive SNAP benefits or
      • you (the parent) have Medicaid
  • Classroom Location and Schedules

    STEP Program is offered from August through June in six Loudoun County Public Schools locations:

    • Frederick Douglass Elementary School

    • Heritage High School

    • Hutchison Farm Elementary School

    • Meadowland Elementary School

    • Newton Lee Elementary School

    • Rolling Ridge Elementary School

    We have ten classrooms which operate Monday through Friday for 3 hours either in the morning or the afternoon. The students are assigned to either sessions based on their home address. 

    Transportation is provided within the assigned school boundaries. Upon arrival, morning classes have time allotted to eat breakfast and afternoon classes have time allotted to eat lunch (families may pack, purchase, or apply for free/reduced meals).

    First day of classes: August 24, 2023.

  • Curriculum

    “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. ”  -Mr. Rodgers

    Tools of the Mind is the curriculum for cognitive, social-emotional, self-regulatory, and foundational academic skills. Because social emotional education is an integral part of a child’s development, Second Step Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program is also used.

    Tools of the Mind is a researched-based program that incorporates developmentally appropriate practices for children to learn skills while exploring through play.

    Second Step SEL is an evidence-based curriculum that teaches foundational social skill interactions for classmates and classrooms.

    Daily Activities include:

    Mealtime Etiquette - Opening Group

    Make-Believe Play Block

    Large Group Literacy Time

    Outdoor Play

    Small Group: Literacy, Math or Science (LMS)

    Closing Group

    Enrichment Opportunities - Library or Music.

  • Income Guidelines

    Income Guidelines for the STEP Program are based on 200% Poverty Level. For example, a family of 4 can earn up to $60,000 yearly to be eligible for the Program for 2023-24 SY. 

    Number in Family Annual Income Monthly Income Weekly Income
    2 $39,440 $3,287 $758
    3 $49,720 $4,143 $956
    4 $60,000 $5,000 $1,154
    5 $70,280 $5,857 $1,352
    6 $80,560 $6,713 $1,549
    7 $90,840 $7,570 $1,747
    8 $101,120 $8,427 $1,945
    * If your family’s income is higher than these guidelines but your child has a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or you receive SNAP/Food Stamps benefits or you (the parent) has Medicaid, please proceed with an application.

  • Online Application

    We take applications until May 1 for the current school year. Online applications are now open for school year 2023-24. Applications are processed in the order they are received.

    If you have a question about the application process or status, please call: 571-252-2110.
    Returning families or those who have previously applied for another child: please contact the STEP Office at 571-252-2110, or email STEP@lcps.org to update your application.
    If it's the first time you are applying for a Preschool program, please complete the online application below.
    Online App     OnlineAppSpanish

Last Modified on April 5, 2024