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Ask Judy: When do I register for pre-k?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 10:55

Dear Judy,

I am in District 15. I am trying to find out when PreK applications are due and don't see it online. Do you know? Thank you for any information.

Brooklyn Mom

Dear Brooklyn Mom,

The pre-k admissions calendar was just posted by the Education Department.You have time to sit back and enjoy the holidays. The application period begins on March 5 and the deadline to submit the application is April 6. Results will be sent out in June.

This means you have a good few months to consider your options. You'll find directories online of public school programs that offered pre-k classes this year, and community based organizations that have DOE subsidies to provide public pre-k. So far, the only pre-k directory online is for the current 2011-2012 school year.

Spend January and February researching your options. Talk to families already enrolled, read reviews on, visit the community based organizations in your area and attend whatever pre-kindergarten open houses you can find. Try to find out from schools how many siblings (they get priority in admissions) they anticipate will apply and how many spots are available. You should be able to figure out where you have your best chances.

Remember, there is no guarantee of a seat in pre-kindergarten. However, there are several rounds of admissions, and you may not find out about an open seat until you have already registered for another (private) program. Take a look at one parent's saga in last Sunday's New York Times.

Be aware that District 15 was one of several districts in the city that had very limited space for four-year-olds in desired schools. Over-crowding has meant that some pre-K programs have closed or been curtailed; in some schools siblings take virtually all the slots. Sometimes there are seats only in half-day (2.5) hour programs which aren't convenient for many families.

There are thousands of options in community organizations – including nursery schools where part of the day is funded by the state. Your child may even be enrolled in one of schools now. Be sure to explore those options.

But all that research can wait for another few weeks. Meanwhile, hug your child and have happy holiday times.


(updated Dec. 21, 2011 with new information)
Last modified on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:42

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