The Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE).  Raising the bar from the start. 
On this page you will find a list of programs and services for children from birth through third grade.

Programs for 4-year-olds
Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) 

Find  District Vacancy Flyers  here that show Public School and CBO Pre-k programs that may still have seats open for this school year.

Programs for Children from birth - 3rd grade

New York City Early Literacy Learning  (NYCELL)
Imagination Library

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)
OECE administers New York State Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) programs for students turning four years of age by December 31 of the academic year.  Programs can be half-day or full-day and are available at public elementary schools and community-based organizations (CBOs). 

All New York City UPK programs are held to the same quality standards.  Each UPK program may choose its own curriculum.  Chosen curricula must cover all domains of child development and begin to align with the New York State Pre-kindergarten Foundation for the Common Core.

Vendors who are interested in becoming UPK providers should register to receive UPK RFP notification via Vendor Portal here.  After you register, you will be asked to select services you want to bid on.  For the UPK program, please select 'Services' from the Category Box and check 'UPK, CBO, AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS & CHILDCARE'.  The next UPK RFP is tentatively scheduled for release in December 2012.

Sign up to receive email updates about the pre-kindergarten admissions process! Visit the pre-kindergarten Admissions website for more information.

Back to Top

New York City Early Literacy Learning (NYCELL)
The NYCELL initiative is a free intergovernmental program designed for families with children between the ages of 12 months and 3 years and 9 months.  NYCELL provides parents or guardians and their children with reading readiness strategies focused on speaking, listening, pre-reading, and pre-writing skills.  Families are provided with resources and materials that promote at-home learning experiences.  Ongoing professional development is included throughout each curriculum cycle. 

Parents or guardians must reside in or near the city's housing developments to qualify for NYCELL.

NYCELL is offered at four New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) community centers:
  • Phipps Classic Community Center (Bronx)
  • Van Dyke Community Center (Brooklyn)
  • Rutgers Community Center (Manhattan)
  • King Towers Community Center (Manhattan)

For more information, call 212-306-3246.

Back to Top

Imagination Library
The Imagination Library, founded by singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, fosters a love of reading in preschool children and their families by mailing a brand new, age-appropriate book each month to enrolled children under age five. Imagination Library books are a free gift to all enrolled children through program sponsorship.

The NYC Imagination Library Initiative includes:

  • Free books for enrolled children
  • Training for parents to support children's early literacy and language development
  • Parent-child incentive programs
  • Supplemental bilingual, native language, and adult literacy supports 

The DOE enrolled approximately 20,000 NYC children in the program during the 2010-2011 school year with support from the Dollywood Foundation and a state grant.

For more information, contact the NYC Imagination Library at 718-642-5791 or

Back to Top