Applications open for Seattle’s expanded preschool program

David Gutman

Seattle Times reporter

The pre-school program in Seattle is now accepting applications for the next school year, the city announced on Tuesday. The services are available at a further 14 locations.

The city and its partner organizations now offer pre-schools for 3 and 4 year olds in 129 classrooms with a capacity for more than 2,000 children.

Classes are staggered and free for low- and middle-income families.

Families can see a list of locations and apply on the city’s Department of Education and Early Learning website.

Just over half of the city’s preschool classes will stay open for two months during the summer, the city said Tuesday, in an effort to reduce learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full details of the preschool plan for next year are not yet available, the city said, but providers are preparing to take in more children in person.

“We know that the learning base built at this age has a significant impact on future academic success, and we are incredibly grateful for all of our achievements [Seattle Preschool Program] Providers who have been on the frontline with children since the pandemic and are adapting their programs to minimize the negative impact on our children, “said Dwane Chappelle, director of the Department of Education and Early Learning, in a prepared statement.

The Seattle Preschool Program is funded by the city’s $ 619 million Family, Education, Preschool, and Promises levy approved by voters in 2018. It offers free preschool for families who make up up to 350% of federal poverty, around $ 93,000 for a family of four.

The levy also pays off for summer and after-school programs and school-based health centers for K-12 students, as well as a free community college program for all Seattle public high school graduates.