Departments‎ > ‎

Birth to 5 Years Old

                                                                                                                       Kim Rudisill, Director of Elementary Education
                                                                                                                                                   Trina Farris, Administrative Assistant

Mobile Pre-School Program

The Mobile Pre-school program is FREE of charge.  if you would like your child to be on the bus, the first step is to fill out an application.  Although we appreciate parents turning in applications as soon as possible, students will be placed on a waiting list if they are under the age of 3.  Waiting lists will be filled according to those closest to starting kindergarten.

Our classrooms are buses that have been gutted out and remodeled with wooden cabinets for storage, shelving, and counter tops.  We have a typical classroom setup such as:  carpet area for group time, a sofa for reading/listening center, tables for center time, housekeeping, and we even have a small kid-friendly bathroom!


Each bus parks at six locations for one hour and forty-five minutes each week:  a total of 18 site stops throughout the county.  We can have 14 students enrolled at each site, serving a total of 252 students and their families countywide.


  • Free preschool
  • Certified teacher and teacher assistant
  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Small student/teacher ratio
  • Services provided by Burke County Public Schools in conjunction with Smart Start
  • Offers everything that would be available to your child in a traditional preschool classroom
  • Designed for children ages 3 years old until they are ready to enter kindergarten
  • We specialize in kindergarten readiness skills.

    Mobile Preschool Application  (doc)

    Mobile Preschool Application  (pdf)

Burke County Smart Start

Burke County Smart Start provides opportunities for four year old preschoolers to attend the Burke County Public Schools. 


The sites where the children are being served are: 
  • Chesterfield
  • Drexel
  • Forest Hill
  • George Hildebrand
  • Glen Alpine
  • Hildebran
  • Icard
  • Mountain Crest
  • Mull
  • Oak Hill
  • Ray Childers
  • Rutherford College
  • Salem
  • Valdese
  • W. A. Young

Burke County Exceptional Children Preschool Services

Available for children ages 3-5.  We believe that early identification of potential learning problems may prevent or alleviate future problems.  Our program recognizes and stresses the importance of family involvement with open communication between parents and staff.  Our services are available to preschool age children who are eligible under the Procedures Governing Programs and Services for Children with Disabilities.  Read more information...

Family Connections 

Family Resource Center: The Resource Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm, for parent-guided play experiences. A monthly calendar details events that focus on science, foods and cooking, movement and exercise, creative expression through art and music, and child development information. The Resource Center is a wonderful place to participate with your child as he explores new learning opportunities.

Personal Visits: We have three staff members who are certified parent educators: Lora Fredrickson, Diane Jones, and Joy Hemstreet. For qualified families, personal visits are offered once or twice monthly by parent educators trained in the Parents as Teachers (P.A.T.) model in the home or our resource center. This model recognizes that all families have strengths and that parents are the child's first and most influential teachers. Visits combine a hands-on activity for parent and child together in addition to informational handouts designed to promote development in language, social, motor, and intellectual areas. Children participating in personal visits receive developmental screenings annually. 

Teen Component: The teen parent component offers support to pregnant and parenting teens in and out of school. Support is offered through personal visits and group meetings by staff members utilizing the P.A.T. model. Staff members are available each week for onsite referrals, consultation and individualized visits in each county high school.

We Believe that a child's intellectual, social/emotional, and physical well-being begins prior to birth and that the first five years of a child's life sets the stage for optimum development.

We Believe that each child develops at an individual rate and that all children should be provided opportunities to develop their uniqueness and to reach their maximum potential.

We Believe that parents are their child's first and most important teacher.

We Believe that all families have strengths and that methods used to support families should build on family strengths.

We Believe in providing opportunities for families to establish a networking system that enhances parent to parent communication and parent and staff communication.

We Believe that effective work with families includes mobilizing community resources and creating opportunities that increase the communities' awareness of family needs and increase families' awareness of community resources.