A heads-up to families of kids turning four this year: Applications for public school pre-kindergarten will be available March 4 online, at elementary schools and at Education Department enrollment centers. Families must submit applications by April 5 and will hear about acceptances in early June. Applications for programs located in community based organizations (CBOs), such as Y's, preschools and other childcare centers, are separate and are available at each agency that offers pre-kindergarten. (There is rolling admission for those programs and some fill up quickly).
Any child who was born in 2009 may apply, but seats are not guaranteed. Programs are housed in public schools or at local daycares and pre-schools, and are either half day (2.5 hours), or full day, (6 hours and 20 minutes.) The state mandates that each pre-k class may have a maximum of 18 students with two teachers.
How do you find out which schools offer programs? Early in March directories will be posted online, or you can get paper copies at schools, daycare and Head Start centers and DOE enrollment centers. Directories of which schools are offering pre-kindergarten this year are online at the DOE's website but be aware that programs change from year to year.
Families may apply to up to 12 pre-k programs on one application, ranking schools by order of preference. Pre-k admissions is not "first come first served." After the April 5 deadline spots will be randomly assigned according to a list of 10 priorities, with first dibs going to families who live in the zone and have a sibling enrolled in the school. Unlike kindergarten, you do not apply at the school, but submit the application electronically or in person at an enrollment office.
Something to consider: This year, for the first time, students already enrolled in a school's pre-k will have preference for that school's kindergarten over other out of zone kids who apply. But, the most popular schools do fill their seats with kids from the zone.
For for more information, families may attend information sessions sponsored by the Education Department, one in each borough beginning on March 4. All sessions run from 6-8 pm.
Here's the schedule from the DOE's website:
| Borough | Date | Location | Address |
| Queens | Monday, March 4 | Long Island City High School | 14-30 Broadway |
| Manhattan | Tuesday, March 5 | Brandeis High School Campus | 145 West 84th Street |
| Bronx | Wednesday, March 6 | PS 5 Port Morris | 564 Jackson Avenue |
| Staten Island | Thursday, March 7 | PS 69 Daniel D. Tompkins | 144 Keating Place |
| Brooklyn | Monday, March 11 | Sunset Park High School | 153 35th Street |