Skip to main content

Do you currently live in New York City and have a child born in 2018 or 2019?

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 March 18 for Pre-K, and April 14 for 3-K, 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. As another alternative to applying online, you can apply through your nearest Family Welcome Center.

Applying to Pre-K

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 Friday, March 18, all City families with children born in 2018 can participate in the 2022 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, including current 3-K students and students who are attending private or parochial schools.

To learn more about your Pre-K options, including locations, admissions priorities, and other info, log into MySchools, and explore programs near you or across the five boroughs. For general information about the City’s Pre-K programs, visit our Pre-K page.

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 your application’s deadline, even if you’ve already hit the “submit” button!

Applying to 3-K

Available citywide, 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 2019 can apply for fall 2022 admissions to the City’s 3-K programs from now until Thursday, April 14, 2022. Use MySchools to search your program options, select your favorites, narrow your selections, and submit your application. You can also apply by phone at (718) 935-2009 or in person at a nearby Family Welcome Center.

3-K programs are available across the City in District Schools, NYCEECs, Pre-K Centers, and in home-based Family Child Care settings:

  • District Schools

Some of the City’s public elementary schools offer 3-K programs. Consider these options if your child has an older sibling attending an elementary school with a 3-K program, or if you want your child to attend a program in a elementary school setting.

  • NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs)

These are community-based organizations with experience in early childhood education that the DOE partners with to provide 3-K programs. Consider your local NYCEEC if your child already is already participating in programming at the center, has a sibling attending the program, or if your family receives social services from the organization overseeing your NYCEEC.

  • Pre-K Centers

These locations are run by DOE staff members and do not have grade levels above pre-kindergarten. Consider Pre-K Centers if you would like your child to attend a 3-K program in an environment that only contains young children that are five years old and below.

  • Family Child Care (Home-Based Programs)

These programs offer 3-K instruction in home settings by licensed and qualified child care providers. In settings like these, 3-K students are placed in mixed-age groups with other children who are between the ages of 0–3 years old. These programs are consistent with 3-K programs offered in center and district-based school settings, and they are overseen by both the NYC Department of Education and affiliated family child care network organizations that provide instructional resources, coaching, and family support.

Consider this option if you are drawn to this setting’s unique strengths, such as longer instructional days that can meet your work or school schedule needs; locations that are conveniently closer to your home, workplace, or another school; and the potential for your children to maintain the same caregiver throughout their time in the program, which can begin right when your child is six weeks old.

In addition to your choice of program settings, you may also select one of three 3-K seat types:

  • Full Day: These seats are open to all City children born in 2019. These seats are free and provide early care and education for 6 hours and 20 minutes per day during the school year, which typically runs from September to June.
  • Extended Day/Year: These free or low cost seat options provide care to students for up to 10 hours of early care and education a day, all year long, including summer. Eligibility for these seats is based on family income and needs.
  • Head Start: If eligible, these seats are free and provide 10 hours of early care and education a day, all year long. Eligibility for Head Start is based on family income and need.

In addition, 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 seats at City 3-K programs. Due to high demand, eligible families will be placed on a waitlist—if you’re interested, please visit ACS’ Find Child Care page and complete their Voucher Waitlist Request form. Waitlisted families will be notified by ACS if they are selected.


To learn more about the City’s early education options, visit and, sign up for our email lists to get admissions tips and updates, and explore programs citywide through MySchools.

Remember: Pre-K applications are due on March 18, 2022, and 3-K applications must be submitted by April 14, 2022. So mark your calendars, and start completing your application today.

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

Banner photo by RODNAE Productions. 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


Have Something to Add?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.