**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** October 13, 2011
Contact: Simone Hawkins at (212) 788-7081
HUNDREDS OF FREE PRE-K SEATS STILL AVAILABLE AT BROOKLYN LOCATIONS
Council Member Letitia James Urges Parents to Enroll Four-Year-Olds Before October 31st Deadline
Brooklyn– Council Member James urges Brooklyn parents to enroll their four-year-olds in free Universal pre-Kindergarten (UPK) classes as full-day and half-day seats remain available at 58 locations around the borough.
All New York City children who turn four years of age by December 31, 2011 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.
“It is imperative that New York City parents utilize the UPK programs within their communities. With the many cuts to child care services, we must work together to preserve this necessary resource for families. Parents and guardians who rely on this essential service should make sure to contact 311 or the New York City Department of Education to find a center near you before the October 31st deadline. Let us continue to cultivate our communities and children one day at a time.”
Since 2002, the number of four-year-olds enrolled in UPK has increased by over 18,000, with more than 60,000 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.