3-K

In New York City, you can apply to 3-K in the calendar year that your child turns three.

Happening Now: 3-K Results Are Here!

  • All families who submitted an application by the April 14 deadline can now view your child's 3-K results letter in MySchools.
  • Your child's results letter includes:
    • Their 3-K results, which may include an offer for the 2022-2023 school year
    • How to accept this offer, or other next steps
    • Information about waitlists
      • If your child got an offer to any program but your first choice, they are automatically on the waitlist for any program(s) listed higher on their application than the program where they received an offer.
      • If your child did not receive an offer to a program from their application, they are automatically on the waitlist for each program you listed on it.
      • A program will contact you directly if they can make your child a waitlist offer.

Received a 3-K offer? Accept it by June 27!

  • If you received a 3-K offer, we encourage you to accept it by the June 27 deadline, even if you are hoping for a waitlist offer. Accepting this offer now secures your child's seat at this program, and doing so does not affect your child’s chances of getting a waitlist offer to another program later.
  • After you accept this offer, your child’s 3-K program will be in touch with more information about how to register for 3-K and what documents to bring.

Watch this video for a walkthrough of how to view your results, manage waitlists, and accept an offer.

Have a child born in 2019 and missed the application deadline?

Subscribe to 3-K admissions updates

New to NYC public schools and need a program for your child now? Learn what to do on our New Students page.

Questions? We're here to help. Call 718-935-2009, get support from a Family Welcome Center, or email us at ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

Who Can Apply?

Apply to 3-K in the calendar year that your child turns three. Children born in 2018 are attending 3-K during the current 2021-2022 school year.

Children born in 2019 can participate in admissions to enter 3-K programs in fall 2022. All children of this age who are also NYC residents are welcome to participate, including children currently attending EarlyLearn or other preschool programs, children with disabilities, children with accessibility needs, children learning English, students in temporary housing, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming children, and children who move to NYC during the admissions process. Children do not need to be toilet trained to attend 3-K.

Please note: Families who are temporarily living outside of NYC due to the ongoing pandemic but whose primary residence is in NYC are eligible to participate in admissions this year.

3-K for All Programs

Families citywide can apply to 3-K for All, but seats are limited and residents of school districts offering 3-K for All programs have priority to attend programs in their own districts. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, 3-K for All programs are offered in all 32 schools districts:

  • In school districts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 19, 23, 27, 31, and 32, there is a 3-K seat for every three-year-old. 
  • In school districts 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30, we will offer 3-K seats to as many families as possible.
  • Families across the city can still apply to programs in any district, and your child has priority to attend 3-K for All programs in the district where they live.

Find your school district by entering your address at schoolsearch.schools.nyc or calling 311.

Extended Day and Year Seats and Head Start Seats at 3-K Programs

In all 32 school districts, there are 3-K seats available to families who qualify based on income and needs. These programs, including Head Start, are free or low-cost and offer care all year round for up to 10 hours a day.

Find Programs

3-K for All brings free, full-day, high-quality education to three-year-old children in New York City— learn more about the benefits of 3-K

Your 3-K Choices

Use MySchools to search for and learn about 3-K programs. During the application period, you can also use MySchools to add programs to your child's application and submit it.

  • There are four different 3-K program settings.
  • A specific program may offer up to three seat types, which differ in hours and eligibility requirements. When applying to that program in MySchools, be sure to add the seat type(s) you want and are eligible for to your child's application.

3-K Program Settings

There are four types of settings for 3-K programs. You can choose to apply to programs in one setting or across two, three, or all four settings. Each setting offers the same DOE high-quality, play-based curriculum to New York City’s three-year-old children:

  • NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs). These are community-based organizations with early childhood expertise. They partner with the DOE to provide 3-K programs.
    • Consider NYC Early Education Centers if your child currently attends the center, has a sibling also attending the program, or your family receives social services from the organization that runs the center.
    • Some NYC Early Education Centers also offer up to 10 hours of 3-K programming, all year round for families that qualify: see the Enrollment for Extended Day and Year Seats and Head Start Seats section of this page to find out more about whether your family may be eligible.
  • District Schools. Some DOE public elementary schools offer 3-K programs. Consider this option if your child has an older sibling already attending the school, or you want your child to attend a program in an elementary school setting.
  • Pre-K Centers. Pre-K Centers are run by DOE staff and only offer grades before kindergarten. Consider Pre-K Centers if you want your child to attend a 3-K program with only young children. These are DOE early childhood centers that only offer grades below kindergarten.
  • Family Child Care (Home-Based Programs). Home-based programs, also known as family child care programs, offer 3-K in a home setting by a licensed, qualified, child care provider.
    • In this setting, 3-K children are served in mixed-age groups with other children from birth to three years old.
    • These programs are consistent with 3-K programs offered in center-based and district school settings, and are overseen by the Department of Education and a Family Child Care Network organization that provides instructional resources, coaching, and family support.
    • Families may choose to enroll their children in home-based early childhood programs because of their many unique strengths:
      • Children can form strong relationships with caregivers by continuing in the same program from six weeks to three years old.
      • Children can interact with other children, including siblings, in a mixed-age setting.
      • Children can begin their early education in a familiar setting before transitioning to center- or school-based pre-K, if that is the family's preference.
      • Families can have access to programs that offer longer days and years to meet the needs of work or school schedules.
      • Families can find programs that are conveniently located close to home, work, or school.
      • Families may find that home-based programs best reflect the language and culture of their community.
      • Like center- and school-based programs, home-based 3-K programs help children learn, grow, and explore the world around them. Home-based programs use DOE-approved curriculum, and the providers receive professional learning and coaching to support quality play-based instruction.

3-K Seat Types

There are three 3-K seat types: Full Day, Extended Day and Year, and Head Start. A 3-K program may offer one, two, or all three of these seat types. You can learn which programs offer which seat types in MySchools. Different seat types have different eligibilities, so check to make sure you are applying to the seat type(s) you want and are likely eligible for.

  • Full Day seats are open to all NYC children born in 2019. These seats are free and provide early care and education for 6 hours and 20 minutes per day during the school year, typically from September to June.
  • Extended Day and Year seats are free or low cost and provide care for up to 10 hours of early care and education a day, year-round, including the summer. Eligibility for these seats is based on family income and needs. If you receive an offer to an Extended Day and Year seat, you will need to confirm your child’s eligibility by completing a Child Care application.
  • Head Start seats are free and provide 10 hours of early care and education a day, year-round. Eligibility for Head Start is based on family income and needs. If you receive an offer to a Head Start seat, the program will work with you to confirm your child’s eligibility.

Visit Programs' Websites and Attend Open Houses

We encourage you to visit programs’ websites or contact programs directly to learn more about them and find out if they are hosting any virtual or in-person open houses or information sessions, or if they have other resources to share with prospective families.

Visiting a 3-K program is a great way to explore if it may be the right place for your child. Virtual tours also provide a way to imagine what attending that program would be like.

When visiting a 3-K program virtually or in person, consider asking staff members questions about the program, such as:

  • How will the teachers learn about my child's interests, strengths, and needs?
  • How will your program help children get to know the teachers and the other staff?
  • How would you describe the community of teachers and families here?
  • How do teachers work with families?
  • How do teachers guide children's behavior?
  • How will staff members make sure my child feels safe and cared for?
  • What are your program's strengths? What are you working on improving?
  • How do teachers support children who speak a language other than English at home?

Learn How Children Get Offers

How can you know your child's chances of getting an offer from one of your favorite programs? It helps to start by learning how offers are made. Children get 3-K offers based on three key factors:

  1. Your application choices
  2. Program's seat availability
  3. Admission priorities

3-K admissions is not first come, first served, and you can make changes to your application any time before the deadline.

Admissions Priorities for Each 3-K Setting

NYC Early Education Centers

Applicants receive offers to 3-K programs at NYC Early Education Centers in the following order:

  1. Children currently enrolled at the NYC Early Education Center
  2. Children who will have siblings enrolled at the NYC Early Education Center
  3. Children whose families currently get free or subsidized social services from the organization running the center's 3-K program
  4. Other children who live in the district
    • The priority is not applicable for Extended Day and Year seats or Head Start seats.
  5. All other children

District Schools - Zoned Schools

Applicants receive offers to 3-K programs at zoned schools in the following order:

  1. Children who live in the zone and will have a sibling at the school
  2. Other children who live in the zone
  3. Children who live in the district and will have a sibling at the school
  4. Children who live outside the district and will have a sibling at the school
  5. Other children who live in the district
  6. Other children who live outside the district

District Schools - Non-Zoned Schools

Applicants receive offers to 3-K programs at non-zoned schools in the following order:

  1. Children who live in the district who will have a sibling at the school
  2. Children who live outside the district who will have a sibling at the school
  3. Other children who live in the district
  4. Other children who live outside the district

Pre-K Centers

Applicants receive offers to 3-K programs at Pre-K Centers in the following order:

  1. Children who live in the district and who will have a sibling at the Pre-K Center
  2. Children who live outside the district and who will have a sibling at the Pre-K Center
  3. Other children who live in the district
  4. Other children who live outside the district

Family Child Care (Home Based Programs)

Applicants receive offers to 3-K programs at Family Child Care programs in the following order:

  1. Children currently enrolled at the Family Child Care program
  2. Children who will have siblings enrolled at the Family Child Care program
  3. Children whose families currently get free or subsidized social services from the organization running the Family Child Care 3-K program
  4. Other children who live in the district
    • The priority is not applicable for Extended Day and Year seats
  5. All other children

Watch this animation to learn how students of all ages get offers to NYC public schools:

How to Apply

During the application period, families can apply one of two ways:

  1. Online with MySchools. Apply online in English, Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese, Haitian Creole, French, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Urdu.
  2. By phone at 718-935-2009. Interpretation services are available in more than 200 languages for over-the-phone applications. You can ask questions and request information about admissions in any language when you call.

Families Applying to 3-K for More than One Child

If you are applying to 3-K for more than one child and want your children to attend the same program, you can apply for all children at the same time. First, create your MySchools account. Then add all your children to your MySchools dashboard. After all children have been added to the dashboard, make sure to list which children are multiples (such as twins or triplets) when submitting your application.

Tip: 3-K admissions is not first come, first served! You can make changes to your application any time before the deadline. All applications submitted by this date are treated the same based on admissions priorities.

Need Care Now?

Some 3-K programs can enroll children at any time throughout the year, if their family is eligible based on income and needs. See the Enrollment for 3-K Extended Day and Year Seats and Head Start Seats section of this page to learn more.

If you have questions about 3-K admissions, email ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov .

Get Your 3-K Results

Families that submit an application by the deadline receive a 3-K results letter in the late spring. This letter may include an offer and will tell you where your child is waitlisted, if applicable. Due to limited seat availability, we may not be able to make offers to all applicants.

Accept Your Offer

  • If your child gets a 3-K offer, secure your child's seat by accepting your 3-K offer by the deadline provided in your offer letter. The program will work with you to register your child.
  • Be sure to accept your offer even if you are hoping for a waitlist offer from another program.

Waitlists

A 3-K program has a waitlist when there are more students that apply to it than 3-K seats available.

  • If we are unable to make your child an offer, they will be placed automatically on the waitlist of each program you listed on their application.
  • If your child receives an offer to a program that was not your first choice, they will be automatically placed on the waitlist for any program(s) that you listed higher on your 3-K application than their offer program.
  • If your child receives an offer to your first-choice program, they will not be placed on any waitlists.

Programs will contact you directly if they are able to offer your child a seat from the waitlist.

Students Who Move During the Admissions Process

If your family moves during the admissions process, call 718-935-2009 or contact a Family Welcome Center to update your information and talk about changes to your 3-K application or program. Your child’s priority to attend certain programs may change if you move.

Enrollment for 3-K Extended Day and Year Seats, and for 3-K Head Start Seats

Who is Eligible?

In all school districts, some 3-K seats are available to families who qualify based on their income and needs.

  • Extended Day and Year seats are free or low cost and offer early care and education all year round for up to 10 hours a day.
  • Head Start seats are free and offer early care and education all year round for up to 10 hours a day.
  • If your family qualifies for either of these seat types, you can enroll your child at any time throughout the year.

These seats are offered in NYC Early Education Centers and family child care networks and may also serve infants, toddlers, and four-year-olds. To learn more, visit our Child Care Eligibility and Pre-K pages. 

Head Start Seats

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Head Start is to contact a program directly. Your family may qualify for Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

3-K Extended Day and Year Seats

Your family may qualify for other 3-K Extended-Day and Year seats if your family's income falls below a certain amount AND you have at least one of the following approved "reasons for care":

  • You work an average of 10 or more hours per week
  • You are in an educational or vocational training program
  • You have been looking for work for up to 6 months
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are attending services for domestic violence

These 3-K Extended Day and Year seats are funded by the Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant. Because of the requirements of this Federal funding, you must provide proof that your child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident or refugee to be eligible for these particular programs. Documentation is only needed for the child in need of child care; you will not be asked for the immigration status of anyone else in your household, including your status. Documentation for the child in need of care can be one of the following: a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, alien registration card (including permanent resident or green card), or Form FS-240 (report of birth abroad of a U.S. citizen).

The DOE is committed to welcoming all children and families, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, into our schools and programs. Families do not need to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status to be admitted to any Full Day, Head Start, or Early Head Start seat at DOE programs. If your family is unable to meet the Extended Day and Year seat documentation requirements listed above, the DOE will help you explore any available program alternatives that meet the needs of your family.

How to Enroll Mid-Year

Programs with Extended Day and Year seats and/or Head Start seats can enroll eligible children at any time throughout the year.

  • Visit MySchools to find a program near you. Seat types will be listed as options to add to your application. Filter for these options by clicking the "More Filters" tab and selecting the seat type(s) you want.
  • For Head Start seats, enroll directly through program.
  • For other Extended Day and Year seats, contact us at CCapplication@schools.nyc.gov.

Special Referrals

There are a few instances where a different process is needed to apply:

  • Families applying for or receiving cash assistance must apply for care at their Human Resources Administration (HRA) Job Center.
  • Families with an active Child Welfare case, preventive and/or protective, must contact their case worker to make a Child Care subsidy referral.
  • Employed foster parents must contact their case worker to make a Child Care subsidy referral.

All families, including families that may need one of these referrals, can call 311 to get help with finding a program and completing the Child Care subsidy application.

Plan for Next Year: Pre-K Admissions

Pre-K for All helps ensure that all children have a strong start in school and life!

Start thinking about pre-K programs when your child is enrolled in 3-K or another three-year-old preschool program, or when they are three years old. In New York City, children are eligible to apply to pre-K in the calendar year they turn four. Every child in NYC whose family submits a pre-K application is guaranteed a pre-K offer.

  • Students enrolled in certain 3-K or three-year-old programs may have priority to attend pre-K at the same center or school. Learn more on the Pre-K page.
  • If your child is currently in Early Intervention, to learn more about your preschool options by visiting the Moving to Preschool page.

Documents

2022 NYC Public School Admissions Guide 

View or download the 2022 NYC Public Schools Admissions Guide! This book provides an overview of admissions processes and resources for EarlyLearn (childcare for eligible families), 3-K, pre-K, kindergarten, middle school, and high school, including a section on how to use MySchools.

Print copies are available in 10 languages at schools, early childhood programs, libraries, and other sites now.

Back to Top