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Read Julian's Story

Julian is a 3-year-old preschooler with delays in his language skills, but the DOE failed to provide recommended services. 

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Policy & Initiatives

Policy Agenda: Early Childhood Education

Policy Agenda: Early Childhood Education

The first five years of children’s lives have a profound impact on their education and future. Studies show that children from low-income backgrounds who participate in high-quality preschool programs are dramatically less likely to be retained a grade in school, be placed in special education classes, drop out of high school, or depend on public benefits.

We advocate for access to high-quality early childhood education programs and services that prepare zero-to-five-year-old children for kindergarten.

►  Expand High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs:

Ensure that every three- and four-year-old child has access to a full-day, high-quality pre-kindergarten program. Start by passing Mayor de Blasio’s plan to provide full-day Universal Pre-K to every four-year-old child. Expand high-quality early childhood education programs for infants and toddlers from low-income families.

►  Increase the EarlyLearn Rate:

The City must increase the per-child rate for EarlyLearn to ensure that programs can meet the required quality standards and provide compensation and benefits necessary to attract and retain qualified teachers.

►  Coordinate NYC’s Early Childhood Programs:

The City should appoint a high-level leader or office within the DOE to coordinate early childhood programs, including EarlyLearn, Universal Pre-K, Early Intervention, preschool special education, and home visiting programs. Particular attention should be paid to the transition between Early Intervention and preschool special education services, as well as the provision of special education services at Universal Pre-K and other public preschool programs.

►  Increase Access for Special Populations:

As preschool programs increase, the City should set targets and report on outcomes for increasing the number of preschoolers with disabilities, English Language Learners, and preschoolers in temporary housing or with child welfare involvement participating in early childhood education programs.

We also support the recommendations in the Campaign for Children’s Transition Plan.

Learn more about AFC's work with zero-to-five-year-old children.