It's the most wonderful time of the year (not!). The Preschool application season has begun anew in New York City for the 2010-2011 school year. Here's the deal - if your child turns 4 years old before December 31, 2010 then you can enroll him/her in a public school pre-k program that starts in September 2010. That's the easy part. How to do so will take a bit more effort on your part. But do not despair, I'll help walk you through the process. Here are a few things you should know:
- All universal pre-k programs are free of charge
- Even though all 4 year olds are eligible, a seat in a public universal pre-k program is not guaranteed
- The application deadline is April 9, 2010
- Programs can be half day (two and a half hours, AM/morning or PM/afternoon) or full day (six hours and twenty minutes)
- Programs are housed in public schools or in community based organizations, and each has their own separate application process
- Public school spots are given by lottery. First preference for all universal pre-k programs in public schools is given to siblings of students already registered in a NYC public school. Additional admission priorities here
- Applications available by mail or online. To apply by mail, you need to get a printed application from this year's pre-k directory, available at all borough enrollment offices. The directory is also available online. You may apply for a number of schools in one submission and rank those schools by order of preference.
There are information sessions being in each borough during the month of March. Flyer with dates here. Representatives from the Office of Student Enrollment and the Office of Early Childhood Education will be available at the sessions to answer your questions. Feedback from parents who attended the sessions last year was that all the information you need can be found in the directory or online at the DOE website. The sessions are often crowded and not well organized, but perhaps there will be improvements this year.
Once your application is complete the waiting begins. Notifications are not sent out until early June.