Early Learning

Starting a Universal Prekindergarten Program (UPK)

For information and guidance on becoming a UPK provider, please click on the above link.

Opening a New School

If you are looking for assistance with opening/starting up a new school, please visit the Office of Nonpublic Schools website for more information at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/starting/


10/31/16 (Revised)

Health and Safety Checklist for Prekindergarten

Guidance Memo - PreK Health and Safety ChecklistPDF icon

Health and Safety Checklist for PreK Word Document



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 icon



NYS PreK Quality Assurance Protocol

2016-2017 NYS Pre-K Quality Assurance Protocol Word Document (100 KB)



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

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


Guidelines for Pre-K Instructional Mealtime (pdf)

Guidelines for Supporting Toilet Learning (pdf)


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 icon(443KB)

New York State Universal Full-Day
Prekindergarten Overview

Additional Information and Viewing Options for the UPK Webinar

Additional Early Learning Resources

~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).

~The OEL is responsible for a wide range of educational programs and works closely with parents, early care and education agencies, schools and state agencies to coordinate programs and resources with the goal of making New York’s early learning system as comprehensive and seamless as possible. 

Specific programs include:

These include:

  • 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


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. The local school district should have a comprehensive plan for supporting its newest incoming students and their families as they transition into a K-12 system.

The checklist below will help to determine how complete your school district’s prekindergarten to kindergarten transition plan is. It may signal areas for improvement for your district to work on to ensure a positive start for young children in the school community.

NYSED Transition Tool Checklist


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 icon (838KB)


Approaches to learning Teacher Resources for Self-Reflection and Planning Word Document (88KB)


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


Cognition and Knowledge Learning Centers  

PDF icon(787KB)


Last Updated: June 14, 2017