Launched in 2014, New York City’s universal Pre-KUniversal Pre-K: programs in which the sole eligibility criterion is age. for All program serves 4-year-old children across the city’s 5 boroughs. Pre-K for All was followed by a pilot of 3-K for All, a version of the program for 3-year-olds, in 2017. Pre-K for All operates through a mixed-delivery system, and children are served by community-based organizations, public schools, and Pre-K Centers, the last of which are pre-K and 3-K-only facilities run by Department of Education (DOE) staff. All 4-year-olds are eligible for “School Day” slots, which provide education and care for 6 hours and 20 minutes a day during the school year, which typically runs from September to June. Some families are eligible for additional programs, including extended-day and extended-year education and care. Expansion efforts in the City are currently stalled as a new administration may pull back expanding access for both pre-K and 3K.
New York State Education Department. (n.d.). Universal Prekindergarten Expansion Funding.
New York Times. (2023). New York City’s Pre-K System Was a Model. Now Employees Say It’s a Mess.
New York City Public Schools. (n.d.). 3-K for All & Pre-K for All Handbook.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about 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.