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Do you currently live in New York City and have a child born in 2017 or 2018?

If so, you can apply to New York City’s pre-kindergarten (pre-K) and 3-K early childhood education programs!

Through NYC’s 3-K and pre-K programs, children get a strong start in school and in life. They learn to problem-solve, ask questions, and explore the world around them within safe and nurturing learning communities. And from now through April, you’ll be able to apply for these outstanding programs!

To apply for 3-K or pre-K programs, visit MySchools, create an account if you don’t already have one, explore options near you, build your application, and submit it online. Through MySchools, families can submit their applications in ten languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Urdu.

Families who need to complete an application over-the-phone can contact us 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.

Don’t forget that 3-K and pre-K applications are not first-come, first-served, and you can update your application at any time before submitting.


Available citywide, pre-K provides four-year-old children with opportunities to develop language, social skills, and awareness of the world, at no cost to City families.

And from now until Wednesday, April 7, all City families with children born in 2017 can participate in the 2021 Pre-K Admissions process.

Pre-K programs are available in NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs), District Schools, and Pre-K Centers across the City, and there is a pre-K seat available for every eligible four-year-old child in the City. To learn more about pre-K, including locations, admissions priorities, and other info, log into MySchools, and explore programs near you or across the five boroughs.


Available in districts across the five boroughs, 3-K provides three-year-olds with early learning opportunities that help support their social and emotional development, language and literacy, early math skills, and even physical development.

All City families with children born in 2018 can apply now for fall 2021 admissions to the City’s 3-K programs from now until Friday, April 30, 2021. 3-K programs are available across the City in NYCEECs, District Schools, and Pre-K Centers, as well as in home-based Family Child Care settings.

There are two major kinds of 3-K programs available to City residents:

  • 3-K for All

Available in 16 school districts across the five boroughs, 3-K for All programs provide free 3-K instruction. While all City families with children born in 2018 are welcome to apply to these programs, 3-K for All seats are limited, and residents of school districts that offer 3-K for All seats will have priority to attend these programs.

To see which school district you reside in, use our online Find a School tool.

  • Extended Day/Year and Head Start Programs

In all of NYC’s 32 school districts, there are free or low-cost 3-K programs for families who qualify based on their income and needs. These programs, including Head Start, offer care all year round for up to 10 hours a day.

Visit MySchools to find these programs near you—go to the “More Filters” tab and select the “Head Start or Other Extended Day/Year” option to see which programs are available. Just note that in order to apply for Head Start and other 3-K extended day/year programs, you will need to apply directly to your program of interest.

To learn more, visit and to find open houses, sign up for our email lists to get admissions tips and updates, and explore our programs through MySchools.

On behalf of the DOE, we wish all of our participating families a smooth application process!

Banner photo by Naomi Shi. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools


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