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.

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

Statement and FAQ on Legislation Removing Non-Medical Exemption from School Vaccination Requirements

Find information about school vaccination requirements.

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


P-3 Summer Institute

Building Capacity for Prek to 3rd Grade
Standards Implementation

Thank you to all of our presenters and participants who made it a great Summer Institute! Please check out the links below as presentations and resources will be posted when they are available.


Blue Ribbon Committee 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. 

The following 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.

ECBRC Final Report 2018 (pdf)

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.

2018-2019 New York State Prekindergarten Program Directory (.pdf) This list contains updated contact information for New York's prekindergarten programs.

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

SUFDPK (0545) Contact Informtion 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.


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

Q&A Prekindergarten Staffing Requirments

Memo: Pre-K Staffing Requirement (Word Doc. 38 KB)

The Office of Early Learning frequently receives questions from school districts and community-based organizations on the Pre-K staff coverage requirements. The above memo provides clarification regarding the staff coverage requirements for prekindergarten (Pre-K) classrooms operated under State-Administered Pre-K grant programs.

Prekindergarten Curriculum Guidance

Memo: Prekindergarten Curriculum Guidance (Word Doc. 251 KB )

The Office of Early Learning frequently receives questions from school districts and community-based organizations on curriculum for prekindergarten programs.  The above link provides an overview of the instructional cycle, defines evidence-based curriculum, and provides criteria that may be considered when selecting or developing curriculum for prekindergarten programs.

Pre-K Emergent Multilingual Learners (EMLLs)

On April 3, 2017, the Board of Regents approved the use of the Pre-K EMLL Language Profile (available in 24 languages) and Process (.pdf) to guide and support state-funded Pre-K programs in implementing best practices relative to identifying and supporting home languages for Pre-K EMLLs.  The intention is to mitigate multilingual children losing their home language skills during their acquisition of English in Pre-K. Questions regarding the Pre-K EMLL Language Profile and Process may be directed to Michele Kinzel-Peles in the Office of Early Learning at (518) 474-5807 or by email at oel@nysed.gov.

For more information, visit the Emergent Multilingual Learners in Prekindergarten Programs web page.


Guidance for School Districts Operating Pre-K Programs for Three Year Olds (.pdf)

This guide is intended to assist administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals in differentiating instruction for three year old students from that for four-year old students.

Special Education

A Resource to Special Education Support Services (pdf. 22 MB)

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.  Some children who have diagnosed conditions, or disabilities that are medical, physical, develop-mental or psychological may need more support to progress in one or more developmental areas.

Conducting a Program Quality Self-Assessment and Developing a Quality Improvement Action Plan

2017-18 Self-Assessment and Action Plan Guidelines (.pdf)

Self-Assessment and Action Plan Form (.pdf)

*Please note that the PDF format must be submitted as the original fillable form.  This allows OEL reviewers to provide comments and questions in the SED Comments box and return it to for clarification or revision.  Therefore, any submitted scanned PDF files will be returned.

Section 3602-e of Education Law has been amended to require that all school districts receiving any State and/or federal prekindergarten grant must adopt approved quality indicators within two years, including, but not limited to, valid and reliable measures of environmental quality, the quality of teacher-student interactions and student outcomes. In addition, grantees must ensure that assessments of child outcomes will not be used to make high-stakes educational decisions for individual children. Specifically, such results may not be used to preclude or discourage the enrollment of a child in kindergarten. These requirements apply to districts receiving one or more of the following Pre-K grants: Universal Pre-K (UPK); Targeted Pre-K (TPK); Statewide Universal Full-Day Pre-K (SUFDPK); Expanded Pre-K (EPK); Prekindergarten for Three-Year Olds (3PK); Additional Grants for Expanded Pre-K (EPK2); and federal Preschool Development Expansion Grant (PDG).

Please see the above Guidelines file for more details.

*Please e-mail your completed self-assessment and action plan to OEL@nysed.gov.

Planning for High-Quality Prekindergarten Programs  (.pdf)

Planning for High-Quality Prekindergarten Programs 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.

School-Age Child Care Programs Located in Public School Buildings

Suspension and Expulsion of Preschool Children

Health and Safety Checklist for Prekindergarten

Guidance Memo - PreK Health and Safety Checklist (pdf)

Health and Safety Checklist for PreK (Word Doc.)

Guidelines for Pre-K Instructional Mealtime (pdf. 58 KB)

Guidelines for Supporting Toilet Learning (pdf. 66 KB)

Guidelines for Nap Time for Prekindergarten Students
(Word Doc. 51 KB)

NYS PreK Quality Assurance Protocol

Best Practice in Early Childhood Education Webinar
In collaboration with Head Start and the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, the New York State Education Department’s Office of Early Learning has developed a webinar to provide guidance to school leaders on promoting best practice in early childhood education. 

To access the webinar click the link below:


Master Trainers for the Pyramid Model Partnership

The New York State Education Department is one of the members of a State Leadership Team created to provide support to the early childhood field on an evidence-based framework – The Pyramid Model Program -  designed to build a child’s social and emotional competence and reduce a child’s challenging behaviors in early childhood educational settings. The State Leadership Team is currently seeking master trainers from across the State to be a part of the implementation of this model. 

This master cadre of trainers will receive 10 days of professional training on the Pyramid Model modules and would be required to commit to providing 15 days of training per year for at least 3 years for center directors, principals, teacher supervisors, early childhood coaches, family support supervisors, and others across the State.

Interested candidates please click on the links below for further details.

Overview of the Goals of the Pyramid Model Program

Letter of Invitation

Applicant Commitment Form

Employer Support Agreement Form

Serving Pre-K Children in Temporary Housing Information

Click here for memo

OEL Resource

Our Prekindergarten Professional Development Needs Survey indicated a strong interest in integrating all domains of early learning.  This resource provides an overview of integrated instruction, a topic that is applicable to all grade levels.

Integrated Instruction (pdf. 443KB)

Tip Sheets and Tool Kits

Getting Ready for School: Healthy Bodies & Healthy MindsMeeting the health and nutrition needs of your preschool child and establishing regular routines is important for your child’s success in school.

The Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds tip sheet provides families with strategies for starting the school year.  Districts can download this resource, customize it with the district name and date, and distribute it to families.

Getting Ready for School: Healthy Bodies & Healthy Minds (Word Doc. 111 KB)

Getting Ready for School: Play

Play is an important part of your 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!

Getting Ready for School: Play 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. 

Getting Ready for School: Play (Word Doc. 62 KB)

Tip Sheets for Practice and Play: Setting Up Learning Centers

The classroom is a place where children are actively engaged in creating meaning. The room itself and the spaces or learning centers in the room should invite children to explore, converse, inquire, build, and create individually and as part of the classroom community. Teachers design the classroom so that it serves as an extension of their responsibility to shape and foster learning. As prekindergarten teachers design learning centers it is important they:

  • Are mindful of the varying strengths, skills and abilities, languages and developmental levels of individual students
  • Are intentional and purposeful in the selection of materials and activities they provide
  • Plan concrete, hands-on activities for student directed learning in each learning center
  • Eliminate worksheet and rote activities
  • Plan for meaningful interactions and opportunities for extended conversations with students in all languages
  • Allow sufficient time for students self-select learning center activities, become engaged, and to explore and experiment with the materials and activities they choose (approximately one-third of the daily schedule)
  • Provide space for displays of children’s work

Tip Sheets for Practice and Play: Setting Up Learning Centers provides helpful strategies for arranging the prekindergarten classroom to ensure a developmentally appropriate environment and facilitate the integration of instruction across the five developmental domains.

Tip Sheets for Practice and Play: Setting Up Learning Centers (pdf)

Tip Sheets for Collaborations Between SED, Head Start & Other PreK Providers
Tip Sheet for Collaborations Between SED, Head Start and Other PreK Providers

Open Ended Art Supplies for the Quality Prekindergarten 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 list provided here includes the types of materials found in a quality preschool classroom and offered in the art center on a rotating basis.

Open Ended Art Supply List

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 Tool School Districts March 2019

Transition Tool Community-Based Partners Programs March 2019

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)


Last Updated: January 14, 2020