How to Apply to Lower School

Use the guide below to help you move smoothly through the application process. Our first round consideration deadline for applications was December 1. We anticipate filling most grades with applications that were completed in the first round. Before submitting an application, please contact the Admissions Office at in order to determine the likelihood of available space and financial aid for next year. 

Apply Online for the 2024-2025 School Year

Penn Charter requires that students applying to pre-kindergarten have turned four years old before Sept. 1 of the year they enter Penn Charter; for kindergarten applicants, five years old; for first grade applicants, six years old.

Online application forms are available beginning September 1. The deadline to submit a complete application with all its components for first-round consideration is December 1. Applications completed subsequently will be considered for any remaining spaces on a rolling basis. The greatest availability of spaces for new students in the Lower School's entry points of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten is in the first round.

If you plan to apply for financial aid, we strongly recommend completing your student's application, including the financial aid application, before December 1. 

Application Guide

A complete application must include all of the following elements to be considered.

Online application forms will be processed and acknowledged beginning September 1. Submit the application form online and look for an email acknowledging its receipt the next business day. This email will contain further instructions for completing the rest of the application. The online application form is the first step in the application process.

Campus Visit
All applicants will meet in-person for play days or classroom visits. Play days are for pre-K - grade one applicants and visit days are for grades two - five applicants.  Penn Charter will offer tours of campus for parents/caregivers beginning in mid-September each year.

Parent Meeting
Parent/caregiver meetings will be virtual. More information will be provided after submission of the full application.

When possible, we ask that the teacher recommendations be completed by your student's teacher after October 15, which is when the online forms will become available. We believe that teachers should be given time to work with your student during the current school year in order to provide us with appropriate feedback about your student’s abilities. Forms and instructions for submitting a teacher recommendation.

Personal Recommendation (optional): Families also have the option to submit an additional recommendation from a non-family member who knows the student and can speak to their character.

Release for School Records Form
For applicants to first through fifth grades, this form should be completed and signed by the parent/caregiver and sent to the current school after the end of the first grading period. The official transcript should include grades from the past year and the first marking period of the current year. Please have the school send the records directly to Penn Charter. Parents/caregivers download and submit the form to your current school. Instructions for completion are found on the form.

Admissions Testing
Applicants to pre-K submit no testing. Applicants to kindergarten through fifth grade submit the results of the Wechsler Intelligence test, either the WPPSI for younger applicants or the WISC for older elementary students. Please visit our Testing Information page for more information and a list of psychologists who do this work for families. 

Pre-K: No testing required
Kindergarten: WPPSI and Beery VMI
First: WPPSI or WISC depending on the age of the student
Second-Fifth: WISC

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Child Care Programs

After-School Program
Penn Charter's After-School Program provides a safe and nurturing environment that meets the needs of our Lower School students and families during after-school hours, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Early Drop-Off
Families may drop off their Lower School student beginning at 7:45 a.m., free of charge. Faculty members provide care indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather.

We offer a free, optional Enrichment Program to third, fourth and fifth grade students during the fall, winter and spring trimesters, typically held three days a week. Activities may include sports such as soccer, squash and basketball, and activities like drawing, bell choir, eco art and yoga.