Murray seeks improvements to Seattle Preschool Program

Today Mayor Ed Murray is asking the City Council to approve key adjustments to the Seattle Preschool Program in response to community feedback to allow more flexibility in the program’s policies without compromising classroom quality. The policy changes are designed to be more responsive to family needs, and to strengthen partnerships with high-quality preschool providers.

“The Seattle Preschool Program was developed as a demonstration program to learn how we can best provide high-quality preschool to Seattle children,” said Murray. “We are eager to continuously improve to better serve our kids and our program partners.”

The proposed policy changes would allow the City to honor families’ desire to minimize transitions in the early childhood years. The proposed change would allow the Seattle Preschool Program to “grandfather-in” children rising from toddler classrooms into preschool classrooms. Additionally, the mayor is proposing, where possible, to prioritize students’ matching to preschools located at the elementary school that they will later attend for kindergarten.

The Mayor has also proposed to accelerate the development of a curriculum waiver process. This allows more high-quality providers to be Seattle Preschool Program eligible by opening up to programs that have invested in training and support for an evidence-based curriculum that is not currently utilized in the Seattle Preschool Program.

This current school year, the Seattle Preschool Program served over 250 children across the City. Next year, the program will grow in both number of children served and classrooms offered. Applications are still being accepted for enrolling 3-year old or 4-years old into a classroom for the 2016-2017 school year. Please visit www.seattle.gov/education to apply or call (206) 386-1050.

Seattle also funds supports for classroom teachers by providing access to higher education programs and funding to attend those programs. Teachers are supported with curriculum training and ongoing in-class coaching.

“Our desire is to make this program the best it can be for Seattle’s children and families. We anticipate that over the next few years we will continue to learn more about how we can create a program that provides the best opportunities to our youngest learners,” said Monica Liang-Aguirre, Director of Early Learning for the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning.