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UPK Pre-Kindergarten Information

In New York City, children begin pre-K in the calendar year they turn four. If your child was born in 2017, we have a pre-K seat for your child! Waitlists are still open, and you can participate in the pre-K process by adding your child to programs’ waitlists in MySchools today.

For the most up-to-date Pre-K information, visit www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/enroll-grade-by-grade/pre-k

For Families with Children Born in 2018

In early 2022, the pre-K application for children born in 2018 will open. All NYC residents with children of this age can apply to pre-K this coming winter/spring to enter a pre-K program in fall 2022 . Submitting an application by the deadline is the best way to get an offer to a program you want your child to attend.

Sign up now for our pre-K admissions email list; we’ll send you admissions timeline updates, key date reminders, event information, and tips.

Who Can Apply?

All NYC families with four-year-old children can apply to pre-K programs. There is a pre-K seat for every four-year-old in New York City. Children born in 2017 are currently attending pre-K during the 2021-2022 school year. This winter, families with children born in 2018 can apply to pre-K and enter programs in fall 2022.

We welcome all children of this age to participate in pre-K admissions: current 3-K students at public district schools, Pre-K Centers, and NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs); current students in three-year-old programs at charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, or other preschools; children with disabilities; children with accessibility needs; children learning English; children in temporary housing; LGBTQ and gender nonconforming children; and children who are new to NYC public schools. Children do not need to be toilet trained to attend pre-K.

Find Programs

Children who attend free, full-day, high-quality pre-K learn through play, build skills, and work together—learn more about the benefits of pre-K.

Your Pre-K Choices

Use MySchools(Open external link) to search for and explore pre-K program options. MySchools provides the most up-to-date information about pre-K programs. During the application period, you can also use MySchools to submit your child’s application.

Pre-K Program Settings

Families can choose from three types of settings for pre-K programs:

1. NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs). These are community-based organizations with early childhood expertise. They partner with the DOE to provide pre-K programs.

2. District Schools. Some public elementary schools offer pre-K programs. Consider these DOE public schools if your child currently attends 3-K at the school, has an older sibling already attending the school or you want your child to attend a program in an elementary school setting.

3. Pre-K Centers. Pre-K Centers are run by DOE staff and only offer grades before kindergarten. Consider Pre-K Centers if your child currently attends 3-K at the Pre-K Center, or you want your child to attend a program with only young children.

Half-Day or Charter School Pre-K Programs

You can also find half-day pre-K programs and charter school pre-K programs in MySchools. However, these programs have separate pre-K admissions processes. Call these programs directly to get more information and learn how to apply.

Dual Language Programs and Language Supports

Some pre-K options also offer a Dual Language program. In these programs, students are taught in two languages: English and a target language. Learn more about specific Dual Language programs in MySchools(Open external link) and by contacting pre-K programs directly.

Some NYC Early Education Centers offer language supports to families whose home language is a language other than English. Language supports include:

  • A staff member who is fluent in the target language and is available to support families
  • Interpretation services at family meetings
  • Translated communications in the target language
  • Teaching staff who support the continued development of both English and the target language during instruction

Learn about pre-K programs offering language supports in MySchools, and contact programs directly to learn more. Dual Language programs and pre-K programs offering language supports give priority to students based on their home language. For more information about Dual Language programs or programs with language supports, email prekduallanguage@schools.nyc.gov.

Programs Serving Students with Disabilities

All pre-K programs serve children with and without disabilities. If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Programs) that recommends a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and/or Related Services only, these services can be provided at all pre-K programs, or at home under certain circumstances. If your child has an IEP that recommends “Special Class in an Integrated Setting” (SCIS) or “Special Class,” the CPSE will arrange for an appropriate placement in a preschool special education program. These classes are available at community-based special education programs, and at some Pre-K Centers and DOE public schools. Learn more about how the DOE serves students with disabilities at schools.nyc.gov/SpecialEducation.

Pre-K Program Quality

The Pre-K Quality Snapshot is one important way to learn about and understand different elements of quality at Pre-K for All programs across New York City. The Pre-K Quality Snapshot is meant to help you choose the program that best meets your child’s and family’s needs. As you search, be sure to select the “Pre-K” option. Learn more about the Pre-K Quality Snapshot in our Family Guide.

You can also learn about program quality by:

  • Visiting programs (when buildings are open)
  • Asking questions of pre-K leaders and teachers
  • Talking to other families

Voucher Options

Interested families can apply for a child care assistance voucher from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Child care assistance vouchers have the same eligibility requirements as extended day/year programs.

Voucher availability is dependent upon funding. At this time, due to high demand, eligible families requesting vouchers will be placed on a waitlist. If your family is interested, you should complete the Voucher Waitlist Request form(Open external link).

Families on the voucher waitlist will be notified by ACS when additional funds are made available and are encouraged to consider additional options if your child needs care now, such as pre-K programs. Enrolling your child in another program will not impact your place on the voucher waitlist.

Admissions Priorities for Each Pre-K Setting

NYC EARLY EDUCATION CENTERS: Applicants receive offers to pre-K programs at NYC Early Education Centers in the following order:

  1. Children who currently attend the center’s 3-K for All or other three-year-old program
  2. Children who have siblings enrolled at the NYC Early Education Center
  3. Children whose families currently get free or subsidized social services from the organization running the center’s pre-K program
  4. Children who speak a language other than English that the center specializes in serving, if applicable
  5. All other children

DISTRICT SCHOOLS (Zoned Schools): Applicants receive offers to pre-K programs at zoned schools in the following order:

  1. Children who currently attend 3-K for All at the school*
  2. Children who live in the zone and have a sibling at the school
  3. Other children who live in the zone
  4. Children who live in the district and have a sibling at the school
  5. Children who live outside the district and have a sibling at the school
  6. Other children who live in the district
  7. Other children who live outside the district

DISTRICT SCHOOLS (Non-Zoned Schools): Applicants receive offers to pre-K programs at non-zoned schools in the following order:

  1. Children who currently attend 3-K for All at the school*
  2. Children who live in the district who have a sibling at the school
  3. Children who live outside the district who have a sibling at the school
  4. Other children who live in the district
  5. Other children who live outside the district

PRE-K CENTERS: Applicants receive offers to pre-K programs at Pre-K Centers in the following order:

  1. Children who currently attend 3-K for All at the Pre-K Center (If applicable)
  2. Children who live in the same district as the Pre-K Center
  3. Children who live outside the district

 

How to Apply

During the pre-K application period, families can apply one of two ways:

  1. Online with MySchools(Open external link). Apply online in English, Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese, Haitian Creole, French, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Urdu.
  2. By phone at 718-935-2009. Interpretation services are available in more than 200 languages for over-the-phone applications. You can ask questions and request information about admissions in any language when you call.

Families Applying to Pre-K for More than One Child

If you are applying to pre-K for more than one child and want your children to attend the same program, you can apply for all children at the same time. First, create your MySchools account. Then add all your children to your MySchools dashboard. After all children have been added to the dashboard, make sure to list which children are multiples (such as twins or triplets) when submitting your application.

Tip: Pre-K admissions is not first come, first served! You can make changes to your application any time before the deadline. All applications submitted by this date are treated the same based on admissions priorities.

Need Care Now?

Some pre-K programs can enroll children at any time throughout the year, if their family is eligible based on income and needs. See the Enrollment for Head Start & Other Pre-K Extended Day/Year Programs section of this page to learn more.

If you have questions about pre-K admissions, email ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov.