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 through high-quality professional development for pre-K educators.
Among the various professional development tracks under the pre-K umbrella is NYC Pre-K Explore (Explore), an intensive two-year training on an interdisciplinary, evidence-based curriculum with a math focus. The Explore instructional track is based on two key components: Building Blocks, a multi-step math progression program, as well as research-based interdisciplinary units of study. The focus of this initiative is engaging teachers and program leaders in targeted training through a knowledgeable, accountable support system of curriculum developers, coaches, and instructional coordinators. The program launched in the 2015-2016 school year in 750 classrooms, reaching 12,000 students and training 1,750 teachers, teaching assistants and program leaders. In 2016-2017, the program will roll out to an additional 450 classrooms, enabling 20% of pre-K classrooms to benefit. Explore will build lasting infrastructure for training, coaching, and support so that students receive an advanced approach to learning math that is engaging, hands-on, and integrated into developmentally-appropriate learning standards. Explore is supported by the Altman Foundation, Deutsche Bank, the Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.