Universal Pre-K first came into being in 2015, letting parents of four-year-olds send their children to full-day preschool programs for free, and was expanded last year to include 3-K for three-year-olds as well. As of Monday, Feb 4, applications for the programs are available either online, by phone or in person.
“This is what’s so magical about early childhood education,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on Monday. “Kids can learn in an extraordinary way in the first five years of their lives.”
According to the Department of Education, about 68,000 children were enrolled in New York’s Pre-K for All program last year, saving families an average of $10,000 per year on childcare costs. Though the 3-K for All program is not yet available in all school districts, de Blasio’s administration announced on Feb. 2 that it would be available citywide by 2021.
“The first class of 3-K for All started in September, and their development since then is truly remarkable. This extra year of education is giving our kids an invaluable head start in life, and helping to alleviate some of the financial strain that working families in New York City face,” said de Blasio.
The city is also adding 47 more multilingual teaching programs, letting Pre-K and 3-K students take bilingual classes to both help children of immigrants keep in touch with their parent language, as well as preparing monolingual students to speak multiple languages in the future. NYC Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza promised that they will be adding even more in the new future to accommodate all groups in the metropolitan area.
“Not only are we expanding, as the Mayor said, and adding two whole grade levels, we’re doing that in a dual-language way,” said Carranza. “We already have Pre-K dual-language programs in Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, Russian and Bengali. But, you see, that’s not enough for us in New York, so we’re adding French, Haitian Creole and Japanese to our programs, bringing our total number to 107 dual-language programs across the city.”
Online applications for 3-K and Pre-K are available here, and parents can call 718-935-2009 if they have questions. The application deadline is March 15.
“Did I mention it’s free?” de Blasio said.