Pre-K kids playing with blocks

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. 

3-K and Pre-K for All transform children’s and families’ lives and are the foundation of our students’ long-term academic success. This is Equity and Excellence for All in action—expanding opportunity across the five boroughs through access to free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education.
— Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza

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 Explore, a math-focused intensive two-year training to equip educators with an interdisciplinary, evidence-based curriculum and practices to engage young learners. 

Explore is comprised of two components: evidence-based Building Blocks curriculum and research-based Pre-K for All Interdisciplinary Units of Study. Together they provide children with a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to learning that aims to increase their critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

Explore began in the 2015-16 school year in 650 classrooms. In the three years following, Explore has expanded to reach more than 1,500 classrooms total. Now, in the 2019-20 school year, the program will reach an additional 120 early childhood classrooms across the City, including new 3-K classrooms, in addition to pre-K. 

As Explore has grown, it has helped to build a sustainable infrastructure for training, coaching, and support. As a result, New York City’s youngest learners are receiving an advanced approach to learning math that is engaging, hands-on, and integrated into developmentally-appropriate learning standards.

Explore is generously supported by the Altman FoundationDeutsche Bank, the Catherine & Joseph Aresty FoundationEarly Childhood Partners NYC at The New York Community Trust, the Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.