First Steps 4K: Access to Free and Low-Cost 4K Childcare

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There’s a new initiative in Greenville County that is providing free and low-cost access to preschools and other childcare facilities to families with young children. This initiative has been in the making for a long time, and it’s finally here. Read all about Greenville County’s new First Steps 4K program, learn eligibility requirements, and how this will impact our community.

The History and Purpose of First Steps 4K

Over 20 years ago, a group of community members, teachers, and parents got together to discuss how Greenville could serve families with young children. The number one goal was to provide access to free and low-cost childcare for these families. The Greenville First Steps board explored how to leverage federal, state, and local taxpayer-funded services in partnership with current childcare providers to create a network of services.

The result is finally here: First Steps 4K.

Greenville County School District, SHARE Head Start, and over 200 childcare providers in Greenville County have partnered to create a network of free and low-cost childcare services for families with 4-year-olds.

Childcare providers range from school-based to private to church-based, and most offer free 4K services. Some also offer discounted services for younger siblings.

Eligibility Requirements for First Steps 4K

There are eligibility requirements in order to receive the benefits of the program.

For the 2022-2023 school year, in order to qualify, your child must be:

  • 4 years old on September 1, 2022
  • Eligible for Medicaid, free/reduced-price lunch, or SNAP/TANF recipient; experiencing homelessness or transiency; or in foster care
  • A resident of South Carolina

You can easily check your child’s eligibility at

First Steps 4K+ Siblings Program

Siblings (ages 0-12) of 4-year-olds who are enrolled in First Steps 4K may qualify for childcare scholarships. There are some eligibility requirements. Read the details bout First Steps 4K+ Siblings program.

How First Steps 4K Works

Once your eligibility is confirmed, you’ll be able to select your choice of program type: private, school-based, community-based, or faith-based. All programs are in-person, 5 days a week during the school year. Most programs are full 8-hour days, and some operate year-round. It’s easy to filter through programs to find the perfect one for your family.

Choose your preferred program, and then submit your application online. Be sure to provide a working email address and apply soon. Spots are limited.

If you or a family you know might benefit from this program, you can visit for more information.

Shannon Pruitt
About the Author
Shannon moved to the Upstate after college, and other than a brief few years in Florida, has stayed. A former teacher, she is now the mom of one beautiful girl and works from home as a writer, web designer, and brand strategist. She believes tacos don't have to be reserved for Tuesdays, shamelessly listens to crime podcasts, and fuels herself on a daily cup of coffee (or two). You can find her on Instagram @shannonroyalpruitt

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