Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the expansion of the Seattle Preschool Program into at least 22 additional classrooms for the 2018-2019 school year, which will serve at least 1,400 children across the City in more than 76 classrooms. In addition, she celebrated the launch of its application cycle for the next school year.
As applications open for the Seattle Preschool Program Pilot, the program will exceed its goal of 75 classrooms. The additional 22 classrooms will increase the geographic diversity of the program, with significant growth in neighborhoods throughout Seattle, allowing families in more areas access to high-quality preschools near their homes.
“When we support kids and families through early learning programs, our children in all parts of the city and from all backgrounds can reach their full potential,” said Mayor Durkan. “The Seattle Preschool Program is reducing the barriers facing low-income families by investing in high quality early learning to help close the opportunity gap. Developing strong cognitive, emotional, and language development in our youngest learners is a giant step toward creating success in schools for years to come.”
“If education is to help all of our kids fulfill their potential, the opportunity gap and readiness gap that begins for our kids before kindergarten must be addressed,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Pos. 9, Citywide) and chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education committee. “The Seattle Pre-School Program has shown it can help close this gap for children who come from families of color or are from low-income families with strong kindergarten readiness in six of the most important domains for children age five. City Council, along with the rest of City leadership, is committed to working to expand early learning for all of our little learners.”
“High-quality, culturally-relevant preschool changes lives. Just as the Seattle Pre-K Levy supported the creation of four new Refugee Women’s Alliance Pre-K classrooms in Lake City, it will allow us to expand Pre-K at Daybreak Star Cultural Center. Seattle should be proud that we are expanding opportunities for indigenous youth to learn about their history from native educators” said Councilmember Debora Juarez, District 5 – North Seattle.
“Studies show time and time again that the best investment we can make in our kids (and their families) is in their early years,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson, District 4 – Northeast Seattle. “As the father of three, with two children in our Seattle School system, it’s my hope that under the Mayor’s plan, we can make great strides in closing the achievement gap for our young ones and give more children the early education leg up they deserve.”
“Study after study shows us that early learning helps prepare kiddos to enter school with the skills they need to succeed,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8, Citywide). “Furthermore, preschool is one of the best ways to eliminate race-based disproportionalities in achievement, opportunities, and outcomes. That’s why early childhood investments are so important, for kids, for their families and for all of us – because it contributes to building a long-term foundation for an equitable and sustainable city.”
“Preschool is one of the most powerful tools we have to change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Department of Education and Early Learning Director Dwane Chappelle. “Expanding Seattle’s commitment to affordable, high quality preschool throughout the City is how we deliver for our kids.”
In 2014, Seattle voters approved Proposition 1B (Ordinance 124509) to fund a four-year pilot of the Seattle Preschool Program. The Seattle Preschool Program helps prepare children to enter school with the skills they need to succeed. Research shows that children who attend high quality preschool programs have better academic and life outcomes: they’re more likely to have better grades, graduate, attend college, get a job, have higher lifetime wages and better mental and physical health.
Applications are now open for all four-year-olds in the city regardless of family income level. Three-year-old children whose families meet income eligibility requirements are also welcome to apply at this time. Visit seattle.gov/applyspp to check out our new sites and apply to the Seattle Preschool Program.