MERSD Integrated Pre-K Overview






    Our Philosophy/Purpose

    Manchester-Essex Regional School District (MERSD) Preschool is an integrated program where children of all abilities have an opportunity to learn socially, intellectually, and physically through a developmentally appropriate and nurturing environment. Students with special needs may receive speech and language, physical and occupational therapy within the classroom and as part of the curriculum. Students without special needs, known as peer pals, are role models while learning at their own individual pace. Peer pals are an integral part of the preschool program as this mix of students helps to promote a strong sense of self-worth and positive self-image for all children.

    Play is an important focus of the program, as children learn much about their world through exploration. Because this preschool is part of the MERSD, students acquire a foundation of skills for entering Kindergarten as well as a sense of security and familiarity with the district.



    Much of what children learn at this young age is accomplished through play experiences. The materials and activities in the classroom are designed to encourage students to explore, investigate, question, and take risks in their learning. Children are also provided with appropriate experiences in speech, language, and fine and gross motor development. The program follows the state preschool standards and learning experiences are designed with these goals in mind.


    Facilities and Hours of Operation

    The integrated preschool program is designed to serve 3 to 5-year-old children in Manchester and Essex. It is located in the Memorial Elementary School, which opened with two state-of-the-art preschool classrooms in Fall 2021. 

    Integrated preschool students have access to an outdoor playground for gross motor opportunities in a safe and secure environment. The program begins at 8:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., five days per week and offers two classrooms staffed by a certified teacher, teaching assistant, and shared monitor. The maximum class size is 15 students. 

    The preschool follows the district’s school calendar. 



    If you would like to enroll your child in the program, contact Shelley Mullarkey ( to request a slot for next year. Shelley will prioritize students for enrollment based on the date you contact her and full or half-day preference. Checks must be made out to MERSD preschool and mailed to the Office of Student Services, MERSD, 36 Lincoln Street, Manchester, MA 01944.

    While we are offering full and half-day slots, priority will be given to parents of full-day students who provide their deposits by March 1, 2024.  After that date, additional students, including students whose parents prefer the half-day schedule, will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    If you have developmental concerns about your child, you do not need to wait until this screening is held.  You may contact us at any time, and we will schedule an individual screening as expeditiously as possible.  Parents of accepted Peer Pals must sign up for the Spring preschool screening so that we can begin to get to know your child prior to starting the program.