In just a few years, New York City has become home to the nation's most ambitious effort to make high-quality early childhood education accessible to children from birth to five years old.
All New York City children deserve a strong start in school and life. High-quality early childhood education is the first step in a child’s path towards success in kindergarten and beyond.
Committed and passionate early childhood educators across the City are turning this historic effort into a daily reality that touches the lives of students and their families. Investing in building educators’ capacity to develop their daily practice results in more engaging and effective instruction. That is why, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education, the Fund for Public Schools is proud to facilitate private support towards high-quality professional learning opportunities for early childhood educators.
Since Pre-K for All launched in 2014, New York City has more than tripled the number of children in free, full-day, high-quality pre-K. Today, nearly 70,000 four-year olds are enrolled in pre-K, up from approximately 19,000 before Pre-K for All was introduced.
Building on this success, 3-K for All launched in 2017 to expand the same opportunity to three-year-olds and their families. 3-K has expanded to 12 districts as of the 2019-20 school year and will continue to grow, with the goal of making 3-K universal. 3-K for All is part of a broader effort to strengthen a birth-to-five continuum of early care and education programs for New York City children.
As early childhood programs grow across the City, private support facilitated by The Fund is an essential part of developing a sustained system of well-trained, committed teachers and program leaders. A part of this effort is Create, a professional learning track enabling educators to effectively incorporate the arts into their instruction.
The research is clear: exposure to a high-quality arts education during early childhood has critical and long-term benefits for a child’s development. These benefits range from social-emotional, physiological, and cognitive growth, to a positive impact on literacy, math and science skills, communication, as well as physical health.
For the past three years Create has provided teachers with arts-focused professional learning activities and materials to effectively incorporate visual art, dance, theater, and music into their practice. This includes content from experts in arts fields; practical, experiential application of learning with an emphasis on how to integrate content into the classroom; and opportunities for collaboration with other educators.
The result is classroom lessons with art activities purposefully integrated throughout the day, providing opportunities for young learners to explore new concepts, express themselves, and make connections.
Over the course of this three-year initiative, Create has guided professional learning for approximately 2,600 educators across 486 program sites, ultimately reaching more than 33,000 students across the five boroughs.
Moving forward, Create will continue to grow, with the goal of training an additional 500 educators over the next three years, including new infant/toddler and 3-K classrooms, in addition to pre-K.