**For Immediate Release**
October 19, 2009
CONTACT: Amyre Loomis– (718) 260-9191
Hundreds of Free Pre-K Seats Still Available at Brooklyn Locations
Council Member James Urges Parents to Enroll Four-Year-Olds before October 30th Deadline
Brooklyn, October 19, 2009– During a recent visit to Young Minds Day Care Center in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Council Member Letitia James learned that the center still has several Universal pre-Kindergarten seats available. She urges parents to enroll their four-year-olds in free Universal pre-Kindergarten (UPK) classes this month. Many full day and half day UPK seats remain available at 265 locations within the borough of Brooklyn, and parents only have until October 30, 2009 to enroll their children.
“Low enrollment in day care centers is a high priority issue for me. Unfortunately, Brooklyn day care centers have the lowest enrollment rates of all five boroughs,” she said. “In this time of growing budget reductions, we must make sure that our funding and valuable resources are not cut by the Administration of Children’s Services, or returned to the State due to underuse especially when there is a clear need for day care, as we know exists in Brooklyn.”
All New York City children who turn four years of age by December 31, 2009 are eligible for free UPK seats. Available half-day and full day UPK seats are located at public schools and community-based childcare centers contracted by the Department of Education. UPK offers flexibility in that families can enroll their children in available seats located where they live, where they work, where they go to school, or wherever it is convenient for them.
Carolie Mills-Skeete, Director of Young Minds Day Care Center encourages parents to visit. “What makes Young Minds special is our hands-on approach, plus our dance and art classes,” she said.
Since 2002, the number of four-year-olds enrolled in UPK has increased by over 14,000, with more than 59,000 available seats this year. The City Council and the Bloomberg administration have worked collaboratively with childcare advocates to increase access to pre-kindergarten programs and to ensure their quality over the past six years. However, the majority of funding for UPK comes from state funds, and every year the City is forced to return millions of dollars to the state because UPK seats went unused.
For a full list of programs in your neighborhood that still have seats available, parents can go to City Map on www.nyc.gov, http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK or call 311.