In just two years, New York City has become home to the nation's largest universal pre-kindergarten program. Since the NYC Department of Education launched Pre-K for All in 2014, nearly 70,000 children have been enrolled in free, full-day, top quality pre-K programs throughout the city. Critical to establishing the most effective, engaging pre-K education is training the highest quality instructors and building capacity at each program site. In order to develop a sustained system of well-trained, committed teachers and program leaders, the Fund is supporting capacity building and the development of strategies to provide high-quality professional development for pre-K educators.
Among the various professional development tracks under the pre-K umbrella is NYC Pre-K Create (Create), devoted to visual arts, dance, music and theater. Utilizing generous grants from the Staten Island Foundation, New York Community Trust, and Jody and John Arnhold, integrating artistic expression into children's foundational learning will be a focus for educators, who will attend professional development workshops, receive resources and toolkits, and work with instructional coaches throughout the school year. The debut implementation of Create in school year 2016-2017 will serve 1,950 educators, 50 coaches, and 11,680 children with high-quality training to develop students’ creativity, sociability, and imagination. The program will reach more than 45,000 kids in the next several years.