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PRE-K FOR ALL: 22,000 Families Apply for Pre-K in the First Day

kids-playingMayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the second phase in the expansion of Pre-K for All is off to a strong start, with 21,938 families applying for free, full-day, high-quality seats in the first day—up from 6,500 in the first day of applications last year. This year, for the first time, every four-year-old in New York City will have access to this life-changing educational opportunity, with roughly 70,000 children expected to enroll.

Last fall, New York City enrolled more than 53,000 children in full-day pre-K at district schools, charter schools, and NYC Early Childhood Centers. This year’s expansion means more programs, seats and opportunities in every borough and neighborhood, ensuring enough capacity to accommodate every child, regardless of zip code or means. Because of free Pre-K for All programs, the average family saves more than $10,000 each year in childcare costs.

“We’ve made Pre-K for All the centerpiece of our vision for a more fair and equal city. Today is the culmination of a commitment we made to every family that we would open this door of opportunity to every child. Come September, more children than ever will walk through the doors of our district schools and Early Education Centers on a path that will help them succeed in their education and beyond. And their families will have peace of mind that there is a free, safe and enriching place for their children to grow and thrive,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“College readiness starts in pre-K, and with the expansion of this critical program, we are putting more students on the path to higher education and a meaningful career,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina. “Four-year-olds are learning new vocabulary, experimenting with science and making friends. Every child deserves this opportunity, and we are delivering for all families across the city.”

“This year, more children than ever will walk into a full-day pre-K classroom and start on a path that will change their lives for the better. We know a child who has access to full-day pre-K gets the tools they need to do well in school. To every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or guardian: this is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for a child. Don’t wait—start your child on the right path today,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery.

“We are proud to participate in the expansion of this unprecedented City initiative that ensures young children across New York City reap the benefits of early learning, and prepares them for a lifetime of success,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Gladys Carrión. “Not only are we educating our youngest residents, but we are providing critical services to families that will support the well-being of all our children, enabling them to realize their full potential in school and beyond.”

The City applied rigorous standards to every program in order to build a single, high-quality system—including educational assessments, interviews with faculty and inspections of the proposed physical space. Only 55 percent of programs that applied to host Pre-K for All were accepted because of these exacting criteria.

Finding a program and enrolling are easier than ever this year. Families use a single application to apply for and rank up to a dozen choices among both district schools and New York City Early Education Centers. The application will be translated into nine languages, and additional translation services are available over the phone in more than 200 languages. Families will be notified as additional seats become available and are encouraged to check for updates. Families that apply by the deadline will receive offers in early June.

Over the next six weeks, pre-K outreach teams are engaging families across the five boroughs, urging parents to apply and helping pre-K programs market themselves to parents. Enrollment specialists are prepared to counsel families through the application process and find the right program for them. The outreach campaign will also include a launch of advertisements on buses, bus shelters, digital media and the radio which will help direct families to the new streamlined application process. So far this winter, Pre-K for All outreach staff have made nearly 26,000 calls to parents and have held more than 700 information and promotion events.



Borough Applicants
Manhattan     2,202
Bronx     3,785
Brooklyn     6,251
Queens     7,700
Staten Island     1,965



“Early childhood education has been proven to close the achievement gap,” said Speaker Mark-Viverito. “The streamlined application process with applications available in nine different languages is an innovative way for parents to enroll their children in pre-K and take charge of their child’s education. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and my colleagues for their continued commitment to making early education accessible to all New Yorkers.”

“Education is the most powerful tool with which we can equip our children. There’s no better time to start opening the door to a brighter future than with Pre-kindergarten and this year our City has made it even easier for parents to access and apply. I applaud the Mayor, Chancellor, and his Administration for keeping their promise of a better education for all New Yorkers and look forward to seeing even more desks filled with bright young minds this coming school year,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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