Early Learning


Welcome to the Office of Early Learning!

The Office of Early Learning provides oversight and technical support to school districts in the development, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies related to educating students in prekindergarten to third grade that are aligned with the NYS Board of Regents Early Childhood Policy. The Office works closely with parents, early care and education agencies, school districts, state agencies and other community advocates to coordinate programs and resources, with the goal of making New York's early learning system as comprehensive and seamless as possible.


UPK & SUFDPK 2020-2021 Grant Applications Available

Districts and agencies may apply for Universal Prekindergarten and Statewide Universal Full Day Prekindergarten grants. See the links below for relevant memos and allocations lists.



About the Office of Early Learning

The New York State Education Department’s firm commitment to a P-12 educational system has been reaffirmed with the establishment of the Office of Early Learning (OEL).


  • Establishing world class internationally benchmarked early learning standards to improve school readiness and facilitate greater success with the transition between preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary education
  • Developing a comprehensive assessment protocol and data system for Preschool – Grade 3, including the addition of an early childhood component to the NYSED public report cards for districts and schools
  • Developing practices, strategies and programs that improve educational outcomes for Preschool – Grade 3, particularly in high-needs environments
  • Developing a tool for parents’ use in identifying high quality settings in preschool
  • Developing a Statewide and National Early Learning Network

Districts and Agencies may refer to our Guidance page and contact us for further information.

Cover of the ECBRC's Final Report

The New York State Board of Regents is engaged in an effort to better align the State's early care, preschool and early childhood educational policies and create a comprehensive plan to ensure that all children in New York State get a healthy start from birth, become ready for Kindergarten, stay on track to graduate from high school, and are successful in life. To this end, in 2017 the Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup established a Blue Ribbon Committee of over 60 national and State experts who have developed recommendations to address early care and education in New York. Their final report, under the direction of the New York State Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup, reflects a deliberate and comprehensive process designed to give all children in our State the fairness of an even start.


Opening a New School

For questions and assistance with opening/starting up a new school, please visit the Office of Nonpublic Schools website.

Starting a UPK program (.pdf)

This document provides information on how to become a UPK provider.



2020-2021 New York State Prekindergarten Program Directory (xlsx) This list contains updated contact information for New York's prekindergarten programs.

UPK (0409) Contact Information Update Form (.docx)

SUFDPK (0545) Contact Information Update Form (.docx)

Nursery Schools & Kindergartens: For a directory for all nursery schools and kindergartens voluntarily registered with NYSED, please visit our directory web page.


PreK - 3rd Grade Learning at Home

The New York State Education Department and the Office of Early Learning have provided activities and resources for families and educators to use while children are at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some activities are online computer resources, while others make use of non-technological resources. The Department has provided ways to use technology in continuity of learning plans and digital learning resources.

P-3 Summer Institute

Virtual Thursdays

The NYS Council on Children and Families (CCF) has partnered with the NYS Education Department's Office of Early Learning to convene the annual P-3 Summer Institute.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's P-3 Summer Institute Virtual Thursdays was held online, and it included speakers such as Principal Baruti Kafele (pictured below). Use the link above to find more information.

Principal Baruti Kafele


Learning Standards

New York State Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade Learning Standards: A Resource for School Success

Prek, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade learning standards cover pages

Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core Implementation Tool Kit

The Office of Early Learning, in partnership with the Northeast Comprehensive Center, developed a set of tools to support the implementation of the Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core in New York State’s early childhood education programs.  These tools are intended to support teachers, coaches, specialists, and school leaders in reflecting on current practices for each early learning domain.

Creating Rich Language and Literacy Environments for Young Learners (pdf. 838KB)

Approaches to Learning Teacher Resources for Self-Reflection and Planning (Word Doc. 88KB)

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Observation and Reflection Tool for Administrators (Word Doc. 109KB)

Cognition and Knowledge Learning Centers  (pdf. 787KB)


Play-Based Learning

Play is an important part of a child’s development. Play helps build children’s brains and bodies, and they learn about everyday life. Participating in your child’s play helps build strong bonds between you and your child. It’s fun to play together!


Play - Understanding the Value of Play from Birth Through Third Grade (pdf)

As states across the country develop research-based guidelines and standards for development and learning, educators and
parents feel increasing responsibility to ensure children are
prepared to meet high academic expectations. As a result, time for play and playful learning is often cut from the daily classroom schedule in favor of more educator-directed and narrowly scripted instructional approaches. The purpose of this brief is to help educators, administrators, and practitioners:
1) understand the value of play in children’s healthy development and learning; and
2) develop the use of play as one of many appropriate teaching tools to help children work toward learning goals and meet
developmental expectations.

Getting Ready for School: Play (pdf) provides families with strategies for using play in the home.  Districts can download this resource, customize it with the district name and date, and distribute it to families. 

Tip Sheets for Practice and Play: Setting Up Learning Centers (pdf) provides educators with guidance for designing and supplying centers for block and building, creative arts, dramatic play, literacy, math and manipulatives, science and discovery, sensory and writing.


A Resource to Special Education Support Services (pdf)

Some children who have diagnosed conditions, or disabilities that are medical, physical, developmental or psychological may need more support to progress in one or more developmental areas. Use this guide to navigate the special education system for children from birth to third grade. It includes an overview of the Early Intervention Program (EIP) and programs and services available to preschool children and school age students with disabilities in New York State.


NYSED Office of Early Learning Video Series:
A Guide for Educators Serving Children in Prekindergarten through 2nd Grade

teacher with students at a classroom table

The New York State Education Department values play as an instructional strategy in the early childhood classroom. This video series includes examples of purposeful, play-based instructional strategies that assist children in developing critical foundational skills.  To learn more, click on the above link or image.

Early Learning Video Training Guides now available for prekindergarten and kindergarten!

Prekindergarten Training Materials

Kindergarten Training Materials



Planning for High-Quality Prekindergarten Programs

Planning for High-Quality Prekindergarten Programs  (.pdf) reflects the commitment of the New York State Education Department to continue to work toward increasing the availability of high-quality prekindergarten programs. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to those responsible for planning and implementing prekindergarten programs for three- and four-year old children. It provides a framework for teachers and others who work with young children to create environments and develop curricula, instruction, and assessment strategies that support children as learners. It is based on the recognition that teachers need many and varied opportunities to nurture and refine their craft in order to respond effectively to the diverse needs of the children with whom they will interact during their teaching careers.


Tip Sheets and Tool Kits

The Office of Early Learning has created Tip Sheets to distribute to parents and educators. Parent Tip Sheets can be found on the Parent Resources page. See below for addtional Tip Sheets ad Tool Kits.

Collaborations Between SED, Head Start & Other Providers

Tip Sheet for Collaborations Between SED, Head Start and Other PreK Providers is an outline of the areas that partners should consider before creating a formal partnership agreement. This document is intended to serve as a guide to aide in partnership formation and delegation of roles. It is for internal use and does not need to be turned in to the New York State Education Department. It can also be used for an annual self-assessment.

Open Ended Art Supplies for the Quality Pre-K Classroom

Art experiences allow children to express their ideas, feelings, and knowledge in visual form. Offering a daily art center that is equipped with open ended supplies encourages this. Students explore the processes of art using materials, tools, and techniques and create products such as drawings, paintings, sculpture, collage and three dimensional art. The Open Ended Art Supply List   provided here includes the types of materials found in a quality preschool classroom and offered in the art center on a rotating basis.

NYSED Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Tool

Building relationships, partnering and collaboration are extremely important to facilitate the transition of prekindergarten students to kindergarten.  This is a time of great change for children, parents, families and schools in which new relationships, new expectations and new competencies are being developed. School Districts and Community Based Programs that serve students who are four years of age should have a comprehensive plan for supporting students and their families as they transition into a K-12 system.

The Planning Tool to Support Effective Transitions from Prekindergarten to Kindergarten below will help to determine how complete the school district’s or program’s prekindergarten to kindergarten transition plan is. It may signal areas for improvement for the district or program and areas to work on to ensure a positive start for young children transitioning into the school community.

Transition Tools (Updated 2020)


NYSB5 Parent Leadership Conference

Designed by parents for parents, this interactive VIRTUAL, three-weekend event is about building connections and growing together as families. The event is free and open to families with children under age 6.

Each weekend kicks off Friday night (6:30-8:00 p.m.) with music, dancing, family activities, and a chance to connect with parents from all around the state. Stress free, ready made fun for you and your kids! Then on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.), a chance for parents and caregivers to rejuvenate themselves with fresh information and ideas about meeting the challenges of parenting. Hear from other parents as well as local and national leaders about issues that make a difference for you and your family.

Come join us as we share resources, information and ideas for families on the remaining weekends! Registration is available for two more Fridays and Saturdays in 2021: April 23 & 24 and May 7 & 8.


Last Updated: April 16, 2021