NEW YORK CITY — Applications for the city’s pre-k programs opened Monday, a month earlier than last year to give families the chance to find the right school and prepare for children's transitions, according to officials.
Families with children who were born in 2012 can start applying online, over the phone or in person at a Family Welcome Center, Department of Education officials said Monday. The first round of applications closes on March 4.
“This is an opportunity for parents to apply and to know that they have 12 choices and the sooner they apply, the sooner we start getting the process going,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said after reading to pre-k students at Brooklyn’s Bambi Day Care Center on Hancock Street.
“As you can see from this morning, it’s really a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for 4-year-olds to start thinking, playing, making friends, talking and being exposed to language.”
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The city enrolled 68,500 students in free, full-day pre-k for the current school year, according to officials, and Fariña said they’d like to raise that number for the upcoming year.
“There’s no cap,” she said, adding that the city will find seats for as many students that apply, though not everyone will get their first choice of sites.
Children with disabilities and those whose home language is not English are eligible, and the application process allows families to list up to 12 full-day pre-k programs in order of preference, including DOE district schools, DOE-run pre-k centers and NYC Early Education Centers.
Those interested in half-day, five-hour NYCEEC pre-k programs or charter pre-k programs should contact those programs directly to apply, according to the DOE.
Offers will be sent in May, and the early application period allows pre-k programs to pre-register students and make waitlist offers before the end of the school year, officials said.
A second round of applications will begin the first week of May, featuring any newly-awarded fall 2016 programs and new options.
To help parents and families, the DOE plans to host information sessions throughout the boroughs starting Jan. 27 and continuing through Feb. 3 at the following locations:
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 6 p.m.
Staten Island Technical HS
485 Clawson St.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m.
Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
500 East Fordham Road
Monday, Feb. 1, 6 p.m.
Forest Hills High School
67-01 110th St.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m.
JHS 167 Robert F Wagner
200 East 76th St.
Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6 p.m.
Clara Barton High School
901 Classon Ave.
The agency will also make phone calls to families of children born in 2012 to inform them of the application process, Fariña said.