Seattle Preschool Program Enrolling for Fall with Free and Reduced Tuition Options
City offers families multiple early learning options during COVID-19 pandemic
SEATTLE (August 25) – The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) is announcing modifications to the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) for the 2020-2021 school year in response to COVID-19. SPP programming will be available this fall in one of three programming options: in-person, 100 percent remote, or a hybrid option of both in-person and remote.
Tuition for SPP is calculated on a sliding scale based on household income and family size; historically, most SPP-enrolled families qualify for free tuition. For those families paying tuition, a 50 percent reduction for the 2020-2021 school year is being implemented program-wide in anticipation that programming this fall is likely to experience some type of interruption or modification due to COVID-19. It remains unknown how the entire school year will continue to be affected by the virus’s impact. No tuition will be collected from families whose providers offer only 100% remote programming.
“The Seattle Preschool Program is a national leader in providing kids and families with a high-quality and affordable early learning experience. Developing strong cognitive, emotional, and language development skills in our youngest learners is all the more important during the COVID-19 pandemic when so much about our children’s education is uncertain. Seattle is proud to offer an affordable, safe, and reliable preschool option for Seattle families so that children from all backgrounds can reach their full potential,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan.
As of mid-August, SPP providers have capacity to serve more than 1,900 three- and four-year-olds. Sixty-four percent of children will have access to part- or full-time in-person preschool, while 36% of students will receive preschool remotely with program supports. DEEL is contracting with 24 providers and two Family Child Care (FCC) hubs for the 2020-2021 school year.
Providers with classrooms open for in-person preschool are adhering to health and safety guidance from Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) for schools and child care, including best practices for social distancing, face coverings for children, increased cleaning and sanitation measures, health screenings for children and staff, and how to respond to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 at a site.
A live, online event for parents of preschoolers is being held on Monday, August 31 at 4:30 p.m., during which staff from DEEL, PHSKC, Seattle Public Schools (SPS), Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), and Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool will answer questions about the 2020-2021 school year and what parents can expect this fall. More event information can be found here.
In alignment with K-12 programming, all SPP classrooms administered by SPS will start remotely in the fall. Families enrolled in these programs can expect both live (synchronous) instruction and independent activities for their preschoolers. SPS preschool teachers are working hard to create developmentally appropriate remote activities. Additionally, SPS will partner with community providers to share resources for families and programs.
“We know partnerships between parents and schools are crucial, especially now,” said SPS Director of Early Learning Heather Brown. “We are working to create remote learning environments where our youngest learners can grow socially, emotionally, and academically, and we are very grateful for the partnership with DEEL as we all work to accomplish these necessary goals.”
Seattle families with children who will be 3-or 4-years old on or before August 31, 2020 can apply for enrollment in SPP. Applications will be accepted until March 14, 2021 for any openings available throughout the school year. Families interested in locations with current openings will be contacted immediately; waitlists for locations that are full are also available.
“COVID-19 has interrupted education service delivery in a way never before seen,” said DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle. “We are grateful for all of the Seattle Preschool Program providers who have adapted their programs and their classrooms to continue providing high-quality, nurturing preschool programming to Seattle children and families in the safest way possible—the pandemic must not stop our preschoolers from learning.”
The Seattle Preschool Program helps prepare children to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. Research shows that children who attend high-quality preschool programs have better academic and life outcomes and are more likely to have better grades, graduate, attend college, and have better mental and physical health.
Visit seattle.gov/applyspp or call 206-386-1050 for more information or to apply to the Seattle Preschool Program.
Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning’s mission is to transform the lives of Seattle children, youth, and families through strategic investments in education. www.seattle.gov/education