Pre-K

A pre-K student in a classroom looks admiringly at a sea shell she's holding

Apply to Pre-K by Friday, March 15!

The pre-K application for children born in 2015 is open now, and the deadline to apply is March 15, 2019.

If you have questions or need help with your child's application, request a call from the Outreach Team: 

Explore Pre-K for All programs and learn about pre-K admissions with:

  • MySchools. Explore pre-K programs, choose programs for your child's application, and apply—all in one place. Search for pre-K programs from your computer or phone. Check back often! We'll be adding new programs throughout the application period.
  • 2019 Pre-K Admissions Guide. Learn about the pre-K admissions process and browse pre-K programs by district:
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Who Can Apply?

Every family of a four-year-old in New York City can apply to pre-K. Children born in 2015 will begin pre-K in September 2019. All children of this age who are also current New York City residents are welcome to apply, including:

  • 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.

Find Out More

  • If you move to NYC during the school year, visit our New Students page to learn how to enroll:
  • Sign up for our pre-K admissions email list to get updates and key date reminders:

Find Programs

In free, full-day, high-quality pre-K, children are in a safe learning environment with opportunities to participate in engaging activities and interact with other children and teaching staff—learn more about the benefits of pre-K on the Early Childhood Learning page:

Pre-K runs five days per week from September to June. Most pre-K options are on a full-day schedule (6 hours and 20 minutes). Some half-day (2 hours and 30 minutes) options are also available. All programs offer research-based and developmentally appropriate instruction. Families can choose from three types of settings for pre-K programs: 

District Schools

Some public elementary schools offer pre-K programs. These programs are overseen by the school's principal.

Pre-K Centers

Pre-K Centers are run by DOE staff, but they only offer grades before kindergarten.

NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs).

Some community-based organizations contract with the DOE or the Administration for Children’s Services to provide free pre-K. These programs are selected through a rigorous evaluation process and are supported by the DOE Division of Early Childhood Education.

Some NYC Early Education Centers have EarlyLearn seats, which have income-based eligibility. There are two types of EarlyLearn programs:

  • EarlyLearn Head Start. Free services are available for up to 8 hours per day, all year long, including the summer. Head Start programs help families achieve their own goals, including employment, housing, and adult education.
  • EarlyLearn Child Care. Free or low-cost services are available for up to 10 hours a day, all year long, including the summer.

Find out more about EarlyLearn options and eligibility:

Diversity in Admissions

Pre-K programs across the city are participating in a pilot initiative to increase diversity within their programs—learn more on our Diversity in Admissions page:

Charter Schools

Charter schools have a separate admissions process. Contact charter schools directly to learn how to apply—find out more on the Learn About Charter Schools page:

Pre-K Resources

  • MySchools. Find the most up-to-date pre-K program information. Search for programs on your computer or phone. You can also use MySchools to submit your child's application today!
  • 2019 NYC Pre-K Admissions Guide. Learn about pre-K admissions and discover pre-K programs in all 32 of the City's school districts:
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  • Outreach Application Workshops. Get in-person help with your application! View our calendar for dates and more information:
  • The Pre-K Quality Snapshots can help you understand different elements of quality at Pre-K for All programs across New York City. Snapshots are 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:

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The Pre-K Quality Snapshot is one important way to learn about Pre-K for All program quality. You can also learn more by doing the following:

  • Visiting programs
  • Asking questions of pre-K leaders and teachers
  • Talking to other families

Visit Programs

Visiting a pre-K program is the best way to explore if it may be the right place for your child. It’s also a great way to see how long the trip is from home.

When visiting a pre-K program, consider asking staff members questions about the program, such as:

  • How will the teachers learn about my child's interests, strengths, and needs?
  • How will your program help children get to know the teachers and the other staff?
  • How would you describe the community of teachers and families here?
  • How do teachers work with families?
  • How do teachers guide children's behavior?
  • How will staff members make sure my child feels safe and cared for?
  • What are your program's strengths? What are you working on improving?
  • How do teachers support children who speak a language other than English at home?

Find open house dates in the calendar below, and contact schools directly to find out if they have special events or tours.


How to Apply

Apply to pre-K by Friday, March 15! You can include up to 12 programs in your child's application. Submit only one pre-K application per child.

Apply by the March 15 deadline one of three ways:

  • Online with MySchools in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Russian, Arabic, Urdu, Haitian Creole, Korean, or French
  • By phone at 718-935-2009
  • In person at a Family Welcome Center

Interpretation services will be available in more than 200 languages for over-the-phone and in-person applications. You can ask questions and request information about admissions in any language when you call or go to a Family Welcome Center. 

Pre-K admissions is not first come, first served—all applications submitted online, by phone, or in person by the deadline are treated the same based on admissions priorities.


Get Your Pre-K Offer

All families who submit an application by the deadline will get their pre-K offer letter in late spring. This letter will also tell you where your child is waitlisted.  
 

Pre-Registration 

You must accept your pre-K offer by pre-registering at the program where you got the offer. Pre-registration secures your child's pre-K seat at that program. Contact the program to schedule a time to pre-register in person. Be sure to accept your offer even if you are waitlisted at another program.  
 

Then bring your child and all required documents to pre-registration—use this checklist to learn what you need to bring:

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Waitlists 

A pre-K program has a waitlist when there are more students that apply to it than pre-K seats available. Your child will be automatically added to the waitlist for any program you ranked higher on your pre-K application than the program where your child got an offer. Programs will contact you directly if they are able to offer your child a seat from the waitlist. 

Students Who Move During the Admissions Process 

If your family moves during the admissions process, call 718-935-2009 or visit a Family Welcome Center to update your information and talk about changes to your pre-K application or program. Your child’s priority to attend certain programs may change if you move.


Plan for Next Year

  • Kindergarten. Start thinking about kindergarten programs when your child is enrolled in pre-K or when they are four years old. In New York City, children are eligible to apply to kindergarten in the calendar year they turn five. Every child in NYC who submits a kindergarten application is guaranteed a kindergarten offer. Students enrolled in certain pre-K programs may have priority to attend kindergarten at the same school. Learn more:

Gifted & Talented (G&T) is a separate admissions process for students entering kindergarten. To participate, you must schedule your child to take the G&T test. G&T programs are in very high demand and offers are not guaranteed. Learn more:

  • Call Us

    Call Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 718-935-2009.

  • Visit Us

    Get help in person at a Family Welcome Center.

  • Email Us

    Write anytime with your questions.

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