Secondary Navigation

With Just Two Weeks Left to Apply Early, Mayor de Blasio Urges Parents to Sign-Up for Pre-K for All

February 22, 2016

Video available at:

Earlier application for fall pre-K now underway, closes March 4

Diverse programs to meet every family's needs with free, full-day, high-quality pre-K: DOE district schools, NYC Early Education Centers, Charter Schools, DOE-led Pre-K Centers

Call 311 or visit

NEW YORK—With just two weeks left in the first round of applications for Pre-K for All, Mayor de Blasio urged families to apply right away. The mayor toured the pre-K center at Windsor Terrace's Bishop Ford campus, where there are now over 20 free, full-day, high-quality pre-K classrooms serving nearly 300 children. There are 68,898 children enrolled in full-day pre-K for the school year that began September 2015 – a three-fold increase from just two years prior.

The average family saves $10,000 per year in childcare costs through the free Pre-K for All program. The program opens up a life-changing educational opportunity to their children.

"Ask the children, the parents and the teachers about the difference Pre-K for All has made in their lives. This is one of the best choices any family will ever make for a child. It is lifting up so many people by building a stronger educational foundation for our kids and our schools, and saving parents money and helping them work. We are here to help you find the right program today and put your child on a path to success," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

All New York City families with children born in 2012 are eligible to apply to pre-K for the 2016-17 school year. This includes children with disabilities and children whose home language is a language other than English. There are enough free, full-day, high-quality seats to meet the demand of every four-year-old in New York City. To make the enrollment process even easier, the Department of Education moved up the application timeline so that families can apply more than a month earlier than last year, receiving offer letters over a month sooner in early May.

"Every parent wants what's best for their child, and Pre-K for All is providing every four-year-old who enrolls with the skills needed for a lifetime of learning. But parents have to apply first! March 4 is the deadline and I want to encourage every parent with a child born in 2012 to take advantage of free, high-quality, full-day pre-K. For our children, opportunity starts now!" said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.

"Having a free, full-day, high quality year of pre-K is a game changer and I'm proud that we have enough full-day seats for every four-year-old in New York City. I urge all families with four-year-olds to go online, call or visit a Family Welcome Center to apply and find a program that is best for their child," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

"My extraordinary preschool is the outgrowth of our mayor's commitment to the children of Brooklyn and New York City. Every day the children are given opportunities to engage in experiences that encourage them to be inquisitive while learning to be problem solvers in a fun and safe environment. I've observed parents collaborating with teachers to create a foundation for learning that reflects the children's interests. I believe this sets a tone for future learning. I encourage all parents of preschool-aged children to apply for a pre-K seat. Every child should have the opportunity to explore the wonders of learning what Pre-K offers," said Laura Scott, Principal of PS 10 and K280 at the Bishop Ford Pre-K Complex.

How to Apply:

  • Learn About Available Programs in Every Neighborhood in the online Pre-K Directory or by calling 311.
  • Complete a Short Application for All Programs: Complete a simple application online on, over the phone at 718-935-2067, or in person at a Family Welcome Center. The single application allows families to list up to 12 full-day pre-K programs – including DOE district schools, DOE-run Pre-K Centers and NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs) – ranking programs of interest in order of preference.
  • Available in Multiple Languages: The online application is translated into nine languages, and families can submit an application over the phone or in person in over 200 languages.
  • Applying to Non-Full-Day Programs: Families interested in half-day, 5-hour NYCEEC pre-K programs or charter school pre-K programs should contact those programs directly to apply.

"Studies have shown the benefits of early childhood education," said President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew. "For decades, the UFT has advocated for Universal Pre-K, and now we urge all parents to enroll their children."

"Every child in New York City deserves to be enrolled in a pre-K program. We owe it to our next generation to ensure they receive all the tools for success, and the early formative years are critical predictors for future academic achievement and holistic growth. I urge every Brooklyn parent of a four-year-old to sign up their son or daughter for a free, full-day program if they have not already done so. These first steps may be the most important for setting up our children on a long and high-quality educational journey," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

"Research proves that the earliest years of childhood are the most formative as it pertains to future educational attainment," said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. "With free programs for English language learners and students with varied levels of learning abilities, New York City's universal pre-K program goes above and beyond to cater to the diverse range of needs that may face many working families. I encourage parents to take full advantage of the quality education offered to their children, and I applaud the de Blasio administration for working hard to eliminate disparities in early childhood education, so that all of our children have an equal opportunity to succeed."

"I urge all families who have a child who is or will turn four years old this year to register for Pre-K for All," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. "Pre-K provides students with the educational foundation they need to succeed for the rest of their lives. I am proud to have worked with Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña to expand this vital program since its inception and encourage New York City parents to seize this opportunity before the March 4 deadline."

"There is no doubt that a pre-K education is fundamental to the success of every young New Yorker. Pre-K for All offers all children an incredible opportunity, especially children from immigrant households in my district and throughout the city whose home language is not English. Immigrant families often worry about their ability to teach their children English at an early age and fear that their children might fall behind. This program helps alleviate that stress for many immigrant families," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

"Pre-K plants the seed for your four-year-old's future success and educational development. With programs curated for every child's need, Pre-K for All is a head start on a bright academic future for our young students. Parents, please enroll online before the March 4th deadline and experience the benefits of free pre-k in New York City," said Council Member Vincent Gentile.

"Pre-K sets the path for learning and development in a youngster's life. We're talking about development in vocabulary and number concepts as well as speech and language comprehension. In addition, pre-K children tend to exhibit higher self-esteem and social skills in comparison to children who did not participate. As the chair of the Subcommittee on Libraries, I'm urging parents to enroll their child in a free Pre-K for All program before the March 4th deadline," said Council Member Andy King.

"Every child deserves quality pre-K, and every family should take advantage of the opportunity to provide it for them. The expansion of Pre-K for All has been a true step forward for families across our city, and this year we have a chance to make sure it reaches even more children. I hope all New Yorkers with four-year-olds will take the time to explore and apply for programs in their area," said Council Member Stephen Levin.

"I urge all parents of four-year-old children to apply for pre-kindergarten before the March 4 deadline. Having worked for years to keep at-risk youth in school, I know first-hand the value of early childhood education. Our city has made a commitment to pre-kindergarten, and I hope families everywhere continue to take advantage of this powerful tool against income inequality. It's free, and it will help your children build key academic, cognitive and social skills that will last a lifetime," said Council Member Debi Rose.

"For so many families in Brooklyn and Queens paying for quality childcare is the difference between juggling two jobs or keeping the one. The efforts made by this administration to ensure that every four-year-old has access to a full day of Pre-K programing has had a huge impact on working families. I would like to commend the Mayor and his team for expanding the program and continuing to improve access. I encourage all families to apply before March 4th," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

"All children deserve a fair start in life. This year we hope more than 70,000 New York City children will get one," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Our city has become a national leader in family-friendly policy. I watched my single mother work hard, and at times, struggle. Now because of Universal Pre-K, thousands of working families will have it easier. I look forward to assisting in expanding the program in more neighborhoods around the City."

"The City's expansion of pre-K has provided the opportunity for tens of thousands of children to receive a high-quality, early childhood education, preparing them for success in school. We encourage families with children born in 2012 to apply," said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York.

This year's group of programs is more diverse and offers more services to families than ever before. Approximately 30 pre-K programs have been designated as Dual Language (DL), and nearly 200 pre-K programs are designated as Enhanced Language Support (ELS).

The earlier application process will give families more time to prepare for the transition to pre-K, allow pre-K programs to pre-register students and make waitlist offers before the end of the current school year. A second round of applications will begin the first week of May and will feature additional, newly awarded fall 2016 pre-K programs and programs with remaining availability. The second round of applications will allow families to explore new options and apply to more programs of interest.

To explore their options, families can access a variety of resources. Families are encouraged to use the online Pre-K Finder for the latest information and program updates, with helpful mapping tools and program information to help families plan their application. Families are also encouraged to use the 2016 Pre-K for All Directory available on the pre-K website in ten languages. The Pre-K Directory contains detailed admissions information and updated program lists. Enrollment specialists will also be available to help families throughout the process to ensure they find a program that best fits their child's needs.

Media Contact
(212) 788-2958