Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a crucial change that will help the families of some of New York City's youngest learners. Thousands more children will now have access to the city's free 3K preschool program; CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reports.
DANA TYLER: Mayor de Blasio announces a crucial change that will help some of New York City's youngest learners. Thousands more children will now have access to the city's free 3K preschool program. CBS 2's Natalie Doncic reports from outside a school in East Flatbush Brooklyn.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools chancellor Meisha Ross Porter welcomed kids with elbow bumps to Phyl's Academy Preparatory School on Tilden Avenue Wednesday morning. But it was the staff and parents who were the most excited to see them, learning their school will now be part of the city's 3K For All program.
- It's an excellent program. My son is starting to read already. He's not even five yet. So he's practically learning on a kindergarten level in pre-K.
BILL DE BLASIO: This is an example of what we're going to be able to do all over the city. All 32 school districts in New York City will now have 3K.
MELISSA JEAN: The best part is that it's going to be free, and it's going to save New York City families about $10,000 a year. So we can put that in the college savings plan.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Officials say it will take some time to get fully universal. Currently, there's about 25,000 students who are enrolled in the city's 3K program. Growth was stalled during the pandemic, but now the city says they're prepared to enroll 16,000 more kids, with the goal of reaching 40,000 seats for three-year-olds by the end of next school year.
Parents we've been speaking with say they hope this gives all children the same opportunities.
ANDREA EVANS: They learn the fundamentals of phonics, they learn how to interact, they learn diversity, they learn a lot of things that's going to help them later on in life.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Officials are using money from the federal stimulus package to fund the new seats, but didn't name an exact price tag.
BILL DE BLASIO: A substantial investment.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: 3K applications for next school year are already open. These newest seats will become available in the next several weeks. In East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Natalie Duddridge, CBS 2 News.