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

If so, time is running out to apply to New York City’s pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) early childhood education programs!

From now through March 18, City families with children born in 2018 can apply for fall 2022 admissions to Pre-K programs across the five boroughs.

Why Pre-K? Studies show that early childhood education helps 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.

To apply for NYC’s 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.

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 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.

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:

  • District Schools

Some of the City’s public elementary schools offer Pre-K programs. Consider these options if your child currently attends a 3-K program in a district school, has an older sibling attending the school, 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 Pre-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.

Some NYCEECs also offer up to 10 hours of Pre-K programming all year long for families that qualify—learn more in the “Enrollment for Pre-K Extended Day and Year/Head Start Seats” section on our official Pre-K webpage.

  • 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 your child currently attends a 3-K program at the Pre-K Center, or if you want your child to attend a program that only has children who are five years old and below.

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

  • Full Day

These seats are open to all City children born in 2018. 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.

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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. Also, sign up for our email lists to get admissions tips and updates!

Remember: Pre-K applications are due on Friday, March 18, 2022, so mark your calendars, and complete your application today!

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


Banner photo by Yan Krukov. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019