Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) was first implemented in 1998-1999 and has since then created the new entry point for public education. Currently 443/675 districts operate UPK. The goal is to provide four-year-olds with high quality, research based instruction that increases the number of children who enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Program goals include developing language and communication skills; promoting early literacy skills and critical thinking; and fostering the requisite social and emotional development and motor skills each child will need for school success. Additionally, the program is designed to assure that the prekindergarten content is aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards and connected to the kindergarten and early elementary curricula. This is done through the use of The Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core.
One of the keys to success of the UPK program is the requirement that districts collaborate with community partners. These collaborations have allowed districts to reach more children in a wider range of settings, thus establishing partnerships between public schools and other settings where young children receive early education.
State Statute: Chapter 436 of the Laws of 1997 established UPK; Section 3602(e) expanded UPK and established uniform quality standards.
State Regulation: Subpart 151-1 of the Commissioner’s Regulations were revised and are effective January 2008
Total- $378.2 million
NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS SERVED: In 2013-2014: 102,114 four-year-olds were served.