Three 3-K students and a teacher in the classroom

Who Can Apply to 3-K? 

Apply to 3-K the year your child turns three. Your child must be a current New York City resident to apply. To learn about 3-K options for your child now, fill out the Get-in-Touch form at 3-K Finder. Subscribe to our email list to get updates on when and how to apply for the 2019-2020 school year.

All of the following students are welcome to apply: 

  • Current students in EarlyLearn or other preschool programs
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students with accessibility needs
  • Students learning English
  • Students in temporary housing
  • LGBTQ and gender nonconforming students 
  • Students who move to NYC during the admissions process

Find Out More

Find 3-K 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 on the Early Childhood Learning page:

Families can choose from three types of settings for 3-K programs:

  • District Schools. Some public elementary schools offer 3-K programs. These programs are overseen by the school's principal.
  • Pre-K Centers. Pre-K Centers are run by DOE staff, but they only offer grades before kindergarten.
  • NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs). Some community-based organizations contract with the DOE or the Administration for Children’s Services to provide 3-K. These programs are selected through a rigorous evaluation process and are supported by the DOE Division of Early Childhood Education.

Districts That Offer 3-K 

In the 2018-2019 school year, we will offer 3-K in the following districts:

  • District 4 (East Harlem)
  • District 5 (Harlem)
  • District 7 (South Bronx)
  • District 16 (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
  • District 23 (Brownsville, East New York, Ocean Hill)
  • District 27 (Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Rockaways) 

Families who live in one of the above districts have a priority to attend 3-K in their district, but families in any district are welcome to apply—use Find a School to locate your school district:

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3-K Resources

  • Use 3-K Finder for the most up-to-date program information. Explore 3-K programs on your desktop or mobile device and find the best route from home to any program by subway or bus. If you have questions about 3-K, fill out the Get-In-Touch Form to request a call from the 3-K Outreach Team:

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  • Learn about 3-K programs in your district in the 3-K Program Lists. Find out more about the admissions process and the different admissions priorities for each 3-K program setting:
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Visit 3-K Programs 

Visiting a program is the best way to explore if it may be the right place for your child. It's also a great way to see how long the trip is from home. During the school year, contact programs directly to find out if they have special events or tours, or to set up a visit.

When visiting a 3-K program, 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?

Apply to 3-K

You can list up to 12 programs on your 3-K application. Submit only one 3-K application per child. 

After the application period opens this winter, you can apply one of three ways:

  • Online in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Russian, Arabic, Urdu, Haitian Creole, Korean, or French 
  • By phone at 718-935-2009
  • In person at a Family Welcome Center

Interpretation services will be available in more than 200 languages for phone and in-person applications. You can ask questions and request information about admissions in any language when you call or go to a Family Welcome Center. 

3-K admissions is not first come, first served—all applications submitted online, by phone, or in person by the deadline are treated the same based on admissions priorities.

Get Your 3-K Results Letter

All families who submit an application by the deadline will get their 3-K results letter in late spring. This results letter may include an offer to attend a 3-K program in Fall 2019. This letter will also tell you where your child is waitlisted. 


If your child gets a 3-K offer, you must accept the offer by pre-registering at the program where you got the offer. Pre-registration secures your child's 3-K seat at that program. Contact the program to schedule a time to pre-register in person. Be sure to accept your offer even if you are waitlisted at another program.

Then bring your child and all required documents to pre-registration. Use the Pre-Registration Checklist to learn what you need to bring:


A 3-K program has a waitlist when there are more students that apply to it than 3-K seats available. 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, or for all programs on your application if you did not get an offer. 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 visit 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.

Other Programs for Three-Year-Old Children

EarlyLearn NYC programs offer full-day, full-year child care and education for children from six weeks through four years old. Enrollment is year-round. EarlyLearn programs have income and other eligibility requirements. Learn more on the EarlyLearn NYC page:

Plan for Pre-K

Pre-kindergarten (pre-K) helps to 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 who 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 our Pre-K admissions page:

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