Boston Universal Pre-Kindergarten


  • Public Pre-K

Boston, Massachusetts

Since 2005, Boston’s mixed-delivery Universal Pre-K (UPK)Universal Pre-K: programs in which the sole eligibility criterion is age.  system has been offered to families with 4-year-olds for 6.5 hours per day, 180 days per year. Universal Pre-K programs in Boston are housed in Boston Public Schools, community-based providers, and family child care providers. Additionally, the city opened applications in March 2023 to include family child care providers in the cohort of programs eligible to offer UPK seats.

Boston Public Schools. (n.d.). About Boston Universal Pre-K.
Boston Public Schools. (2022). Boston Universal Pre-K Program 2021-2022 Year in Review.
City of Boston. (2023). Steps Taken to Increase Availability, Variety of Preschool Seats for Boston Families.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply. 
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Boston

Context matters. Visit the Boston profile page to learn more about the city landscape.

Visit the Boston Profile Here
  • The city population is 654,776
  • The percentage of children under age 5 is 4.8%
  • The median family income among households with children is $77,600