BY EMMA MILLER
Approximately 5,000 three-year-olds became students on Wednesday as the city’s 3-K for All plan expands into Queens and three other boroughs.
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx now offer free, full-day preschool for three-year-olds at 187 sites across six districts.
Last year, the program had only 1,500 students at 47 sites in District 7 in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn. The plan is to be in 12 districts across all five boroughs by 2021, providing 3-K for 19,000 students.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, and Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson welcomed students on September 5 at one of the Queens schools participating in the 3-K for All program: PS 377 in Ozone Park.
“Welcome back to our 1.1 million students and their families, and our 145,000 educators and school staff – from Wakefield to Tottenville, and Rosedale to Washington Heights,” said Carranza.
Carranza said that he looks forward to what will be his first full school year in the city.
“There’s nothing more important than unlocking the future of our youngest New Yorkers and we’re excited to welcome our students for what will be another successful school year,” de Blasio said.
“3-K for All teaches young students how to learn, how to cooperate, how to solve problems and puts them on the path to lifelong academic success,” said Thompson.
Senator Leroy Comrie agreed. “Investing in early education brightens the futures of our children and strengthens the fabric of our city,” he said.
3-K for All helps give all families equal access to education, de Blasio noted. Without the program, only parents who could afford the extra expense could send their children to preschool.
3-K for All takes place in district schools, pre-k centers and NYC Early Education Centers. Families can choose which type of location to send their children when they apply.
The six districts participating in 3-K for All this school year are District 4 in East Harlem; District 5 in Harlem; District 7 in South Bronx; District 16 in Bedford-Stuyvesant; District 23 in Brownsville, East New York, Ocean Hill; and District 27 in Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and the Rockaways.
Students within the district are given priority, but 3-K for All is open to all New York residents. Families from any district can apply to send their children to 3-K.
3-K for All is part of the Equity and Excellence for All initiative, a plan to improve New York City schools. The agenda includes focuses on pre-k, literacy, AP classes and college access.
Another part of the program is Pre-K for All, which provides four-year-olds with free, full-day education. Last year, 67,881 students participated in Pre-K for all.
For more information or to apply for 3-K, visit nyc.gov/3k.