Getting your 4-year-old enrolled in pre-kindergarten is more complicated than signing up at your local school! All children who turn 4 in 2015 are eligible for free pre-kindergarten, either in a public school or at a site run by a community organization. You must apply by April 24 and do your homework first. The de Blasio administration gets an A for effort in its rapid expansion of pre-kindergarten, with more than 30,000 new seats last fall and another 20,000 planned for this coming fall. But what is the quality of these new programs?
Even though the city is rapidly expanding free, all-day pre-k programs, demand still outstrips supply in many neighborhoods. Insideschools hosted a panel of experts this spring, including Josh Wallack, chief strategy officer for the Department of Education, Takiema Bunche Smith, director of the Leadership Institute at SCO/FirstStepNYC and Lydie Raschka, Insideschools school reviewer and Montessori teacher. They, along with other experts from Insideschools, talked about how to find a good program for your child and gave tips on how to navigate the application process.
If you missed the workshop, you can watch it on Livestream. Click on the video timeline below for key questions of interest to you.
38:16: What do you look for in a pre-k program?
47:35 Are the early childhood centers teaching the same skills as the public school pre-ks?
54:44: What about neighborhoods that don't have enough seats?
1:00:06: What are the stand-alone pre-k centers?
1:27:38: My zoned school refuses to give tours and will not hold an open house. How can I find out more about the program?
**1:33:09: Will the schools see the order of preference on my application?
1:47:23: What challenges, lessons and successes have we learned from the UPK implementation?**
If you're still looking for a pre-kindergarten, use our new search engine. Simply type in your address and find all the programs located near your home or work.