Kindergarten students in class, raising their hands

Who Can Apply to Kindergarten?

All New York City children are guaranteed a kindergarten seat in a public elementary school.

For Children Born in 2013—Enroll Now

Children born in 2013 will begin kindergarten in September 2018. The kindergarten application period for 2018-2019 is now closed. 

  • If your child got a kindergarten offer for this fall and you have pre-registered to accept that offer, congratulations! Your child is ready for their first day of school.
  • If your child does not yet have a kindergarten placement for this fall or has just moved to NYC and needs a place to go to school now, learn how to enroll on our New Students page:

For Children Born in 2014—Apply This Winter

Children born in 2014 will begin kindergarten in September 2019. Your child must be a current New York City resident to apply. Subscribe to our email list to get updates on when and how to apply for the 2019-2020 school year:

All elementary schools welcome current public district and charter school students, as well as private or parochial school students. The following are all welcome to apply to kindergarten: students with disabilities, students with accessibility needs, students learning English, students in temporary housing, and LGBTQ and gender nonconforming students—learn more in the links that follow.

Find Out More

If you move to NYC during the school year, visit our New Students page to learn how to enroll:

Find Elementary Schools

Start exploring kindergarten programs around the time your child starts pre-K.

Two Paths to Elementary School 

There are two paths to elementary school admissions. 

1. Kindergarten

Submit a kindergarten application online, by phone, or in person at a Family Welcome Center—find locations and hours on the Family Welcome Centers page. You can apply to up to 12 programs. 

2. Gifted & Talented

Children applying to kindergarten can also test to apply to Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs. Sign your child up to take the G&T test this fall. Learn more on our Gifted & Talented admissions page:

School Types

There are three types of schools that you can list on your kindergarten application. 

  • Zoned Schools. If you live in an area zoned for a specific school, your children have priority to attend that school.
  • Non-Zoned Schools. These schools do not have a zone. Families who live anywhere in the district or borough can attend them.
  • Choice Schools. New York City’s three choice districts (Districts 1, 7, and 23) have no zoned schools. Students living in District 1, 7, or 23 have priority to attend all schools in the district where they live. 

Diversity in Admissions

Elementary schools across the city are participating in a pilot initiative to increase diversity within their schools—learn more on our Diversity in Admissions page:

Charter Schools

Charter schools have a separate admissions process. Contact charter schools directly to learn how to apply—find out more on the Learn About Charter Schools page:

Kindergarten Resources

  • Use Find a School to locate kindergarten options near you. You can also look up your school district and learn if your address has a zoned school. Your child has the best chance of getting into a school in the district where they live, especially their zoned school.
  • Explore schools and kindergarten programs in your borough and district in the NYC Kindergarten Directory. Learn about the admissions process and admissions priorities for different schools, including which student groups (such as siblings of current students) got offers to each school last year. 
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Visit Elementary Schools

Visiting a school 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. 

This fall, find elementary admissions events and open house dates in our calendar. During the school year, contact schools directly to find out if they have special events, open houses, or school tours.

Apply to Kindergarten

You can list up to 12 schools on your child's kindergarten application. Submit only one application per child. If your child has a zoned school, it is a good idea to rank it on their kindergarten application—your child has priority to attend their zoned school.

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.  

Kindergarten admissions is not first come, first served—all applications submitted online, by phone, or in person by the deadline will be treated the same based on admissions priorities.

Get Your Kindergarten Offer

You will get your child’s kindergarten offer letter in the early spring. If you applied to kindergarten online, you will also get your offer letter by email. Your offer letter will tell you where your child will go to kindergarten next fall. The letter will also tell you where your child is waitlisted.

Waitlist Offers

A school has a kindergarten waitlist when there are more students that apply to it than kindergarten seats available. Your child will automatically be added to the waitlist for any school you ranked higher on your kindergarten application than the school where your child got an offer. Schools will contact you directly if they are able to offer your child a seat from the waitlist.

G&T Offers

If your child was also eligible to submit a G&T application, you will get a G&T results letter in the late spring. This letter may or may not include an offer for your child to attend a G&T program. If you get an offer, you will have to choose to accept the G&T program or your kindergarten placement.


Accept your child's kindergarten offer by pre-registering at the school where you got an offer. Pre-registration secures your child's kindergarten seat at that school. Contact the school to set up a time to pre-register in person. Be sure to accept your kindergarten offer even if you are hoping to also get a G&T offer.

Bring your child and all required documents to pre-registration—use the Pre-Registration Checklist to learn what you need to bring:

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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 kindergarten application or program. Your child’s priority to attend certain programs may change if you move.

Plan for Middle School

During fifth grade, your child will apply to middle school. Middle school admissions may seem many years in the future, but it’s helpful to start thinking now about the next step in your child’s educational journey. Here are a few tips:

  • Some middle schools consider students' fourth grade report card grades when making offers.
  • If your child’s kindergarten is in a school that continues through eighth or twelfth grade, they will have a priority to continue attending that school.

Learn more on our Middle School admissions page:

The kindergarten application period is currently closed.
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