3-K

In New York City, you can apply to 3-K in the calendar year that your child turns three. 3-K brings free, full-day, high-quality education to three-year-old children in New York City— learn more about the benefits of 3-K here. Every school district has 3-K programs, and we make every effort to place students based on seat availability close to their home. 

Happening Now:

If your child was born in 2020 and lives in New York City they are eligible to attend 3-K right now.

If your child was born in 2021, the 3-K application is now open! You can add your child to your MySchools.nyc account now; click the “Get Started” button to begin your application. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2024.

    Fall 2024 Admissions Timeline*

    Below are the application open, close, and offer release dates. These dates are for students who are applying during the 2023-2024 school year for admission in the 2024-2025 school year.

    *Please note: These dates are subject to change. Any changes will be announced and communicated directly to families. Sign up for updates here.

    3-K Admissions

    • Wednesday, January 10, 2024: 3-K Application Opens
    • Friday, March 1, 2024: 3-K Application Closes
    • Thursday, May 16, 2024: 3-K Offer Release

    Who Can Apply?

    All NYC children born in 2021 can apply for 3-K for the 2024-2025 school year, including children currently attending EarlyLearn or other preschool programs, children with disabilities, children with accessibility needs, children learning English, and students in temporary housing. Children do not need to be toilet trained to attend 3-K.

    3-K Programs Serving Students with Disabilities

    All 3-K programs serve children with and without disabilities. If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) that recommends a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and/or Related Services only, these services can be provided at all 3-K programs, or at home under certain circumstances. If your child has an IEP that recommends "Special Class in an Integrated Setting" (SCIS) or "Special Class," the CPSE will arrange for an appropriate placement in a preschool special education program. These classes are available at community-based special education programs, and at some Pre-K Centers and NYCPS public schools. Learn more about how the NYCPS serves students with disabilities at schools.nyc.gov/SpecialEducation.

     

    Where can you apply?

    Families can apply to any school across NYC. However, children have priority to attend 3-K in the district they reside in and we make every effort to place students based on seat availability close to their home. Find your school district by entering your address at schoolsearch.schools.nyc or calling 311.

    How to Find Programs

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

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

    3-K Settings

    There are four settings for 3-K. You can choose to apply to all settings. Each setting offers the same 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. NYCEECs could be private schools, daycares, or other sites that partner with New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) to provide 3-K. Additionally many programs may offer early dropoff or late pickup options for a fee.
    • District Schools. Some public elementary schools offer 3-K. Consider this option if you want your child to attend a program in an elementary school setting.
    • Pre-K Centers. Pre-K Centers are run by NYCPS staff and only offer grades before kindergarten. Consider Pre-K Centers if you want your child to attend a program in a setting with only other young children. 
    • 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. Family Child Care 3-K is overseen by NYCPS and a Family Child Care Network. In this setting, 3-K children are served in mixed-age groups with other children from birth to three years old. Consider Family Child Care if you want your child to begin their early education in a familiar setting before transitioning to school based pre-K. 

    3-K Seat Types

    Within the four settings for 3-K there are three 3-K seat types: School Day, Extended Day and Year, and Head Start. A 3-K site may offer one, two, or all three of these seat types, which vary in terms of hours and eligibility requirements. You can learn which sites offer which seat types in MySchools. 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.

    • School Day seats are open to all NYC children. These seats are free and provide care and learning for 6 hours and 20 minutes per day during the school year, typically from September to June. All 3-K settings offer this seat type.
    • 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, which you can find on MyCity. NYCEECs and Family Child Care settings offer this seat type.
    • 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. NYCEECs offer this seat type.

    Language Supports

    Some NYC Early Education Centers offer language supports to families whose home language is a language other than English. Language supports include:

    • A staff member who is fluent in the target language and is available to support families
    • Interpretation services at family meetings
    • Translated communications in the target language
    • Teaching staff who support the continued development of both English and the target language during instruction

    Learn about 3-K language supports in MySchools, and contact schools directly to learn more. 3-K programs offering language supports give priority to students based on their home language. For more information about programs with language supports, email prekduallanguage@schools.nyc.gov

     

     

    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. . The 3-K Directory on MySchools is a resource you can use to find contact information for schools of interest.

    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?

    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 .

    Learn How Children Get Offers

    Learning how offers are made is helpful to know your child’s chances of getting an offer from one of your preferred choices on the application. 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 Factor: Your Application Choices

    The choices that you add to your child's application and the order in which you place them matter!

    1. Choose up to 12 programs that you'd like your child to attend.

    2. Add them to your application, placing programs in your true order of preference, with your first choice at the top as #1. Some schools offer more than one program at a site location, so be sure to add the correct program—such as a 3-K School Day program and a 3-K Head Start program—to your application.

    Your child will be considered for admissions at each program you list on your application. They will get one offer to the 3-K program you listed highest that also has an open seat. If your child does not get an offer to a program listed on your application, they will get an offer to the closest available program.

    Programs' Seat Availability

    Each 3-K program has a certain number of available seats. Programs vary in size, and many have more applicants than seats. If a program has more applicants than seats, admissions priorities are used to make offers.

    Types of Admissions Priorities

    Your child has a better chance of getting into some programs than others. When a program can't make offers to applicants, offers are made based on which children have the highest admissions priority to attend that program.

    • Children are considered in priority groups, and all students in the first priority group are considered first.

    • If seats are available, children in the second priority group will be considered next, and so on.

    Program demand varies greatly. Some programs admit applicants from most or all priority groups, while others only admit applicants from their first priority group.

    Current Student Priority

    If your child is currently enrolled at a program that you apply to, they have priority at that program. If you would like your child to remain at the program, be sure to list the program on your application and indicate that your child is a current student. On the last page of the application, let us know where your child currently attends.

    Sibling Priority

    If your child's sibling attends a program that you list on your application, they have a higher chance of getting an offer to that program. A sibling is defined as an applicant's brother or sister, including half-brothers, half-sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, foster brothers, and foster sisters who live in the same household. Sibling priority will only be granted in cases where either of the following applies: the applicant's sibling attends the school now and will still be enrolled in September 2024, or the applicant's sibling has an accepted offer for September 2024. This includes siblings enrolled in District 75 programs in the same building. On the last page of the application, let us know if you have a sibling attending a school you applied to. 

    District Priority

    New York City has 32 school districts. Your school district is determined by your home address. Your child may have priority to attend programs at NYCPS public schools and Pre-K Centers in the school district where your family lives.

    Zoned Priority

    • Most families in NYC have a zoned elementary school. This means that children who live in the zone, or area around a school, have priority to attend that school. If you have zoned DOE public school that offers a 3-K program, your child will have priority to attend that program.

    • You can look up your child's zoned school (if they have one) and your school district at Find-a-School or by calling 311.

    • Families living in Districts 1, 7, and 23 do not have a zoned school—children living in these districts have priority to attend all schools in the district.

    Diversity in Admissions Priority

    NYCPS is committed to creating and supporting learning environments that reflect the diversity of New York City. We believe all students benefit from diverse and inclusive schools and classrooms. 3-K programs across the city are participating in an initiative to increase diversity by giving admissions priorities for a certain percentage of seats to specific groups of children, such as low-income students, students in temporary housing, Emergent Multilingual Learners, and other groups. The current list of 3-K programs participating in this initiative, as well as details about each priority, is available on the Diversity in Admissions Page.

     

     

    Admissions Priorities for Each 3-K Setting

    NYC Early Education Centers

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

    1. Children who currently attend the 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. Children who speak a language other than English that the center specializes in serving, if applicable
    5. Other children who live in the district
      • The priority is not applicable for Extended Day and Year seats or Head Start seats.
    6. All other children

    District Schools - Zoned Schools

    Applicants receive offers to 3-K 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 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 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 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

    *If there are more current student applicants than there are available seats in a 3-K program, current students will receive offers to that 3-K program based on admissions priorities in the order outlined in the 2nd-5th priorities for NYC Early Education Centers and in the 2nd-3rd priorities for Family Child Care.

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

    Get Your 3-K Results

    3-K results are released in the spring. Families that submit an application by the deadline receive a 3-K results letter. 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

    • Secure your child's seat by accepting and registering for 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 waitlisted at another program or programs.

    Waitlists

    Programs use waitlists to fill open seats after offers are made.

    • Your child will be automatically added to the waitlist for any program you ranked higher on your 3-K application than the program where your child got an offer.
    • You can also add your child to additional program's waitlists: this is optional.
    • Programs will contact you directly if they are able to offer your child a seat from the waitlist.
    • Learn more on our Waitlists page.

     

    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.

    Transportation

    In New York City, enrollment in a 3-K program does not include school bus service. Only children who are eligible for specialized transportation will get bus service.

     

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

    Who is Eligible?

    In all school districts, Extended Day and Year seats and Head Start seats are available for four year olds to families that qualify. Eligibility is based on your family's income and needs. These programs can enroll eligible children at any time throughout the year.

    • Extended Day and Year seats offer free or low-cost early care and education for up to 10 hours a day, all year round. If you get an offer to one of these seat types, you will be asked to complete a Child Care application to determine eligibility.
    • Head Start seats offer free early care and education for up to 10 hours a day, all year round. If you get an offer to one of these seat types, the program will work with you directly to establish eligibility.

    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

    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 SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits
    • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
    • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
    • Your family income falls below a certain amount (see table below)

    Head Start Income Eligibility: HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2024

    Persons in Family/Household

    Poverty Guideline - Annual

    2

    $20,440

    3

    $25,820

    4

    $31,200

    5

    $36,580

    6

    $41,960

    7

    $47,340

    8

    $52,720

    Programs may be able to enroll a small number of families that have incomes over this threshold. If you are interested in a Head Start program and your family income is higher, you are still encouraged to apply; the program will reach out if they have capacity to serve additional families.

    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 (see table below) 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
    • You are receiving treatment for substance abuse

    State Income Standard: 85% of SMI for New York

    Family Size

    Annual Income

    2

    $67,490.17

    3

    $83,370.21

    4

    $99,250.25

    5

    $115,130.29

    6

    $131,010.33

    7

    $133,987.84

    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.

    Special Referrals

    There are a few instances where a City agency other than the DOE determines a family’s eligibility for Child Care assistance:

    • Families applying for or receiving cash assistance must apply for Child Care through their Human Resources Administration (HRA) Job Center.
    • Families with an active child welfare case, Preventative 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.

    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.

     

    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

    2024 NYC Public Schools Admissions Guide 

    View or download the 2024 NYC Public Schools Admissions Guide! This book provides an overview of admissions processes and resources for Infants and Toddlers programs, 3-K, Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented (G&T) programs, middle school, and high school (including Specialized High Schools), including a section on how to use MySchools.

    Print copies will be available in 10 languages at schools, early childhood programs, libraries, and other sites throughout September.