About Boston Universal Pre-K
Prepare your child for success! Prekindergarten gets your child ready for school with a strong foundation for learning now.
The Boston Public Schools preschool program is one of the strongest in the nation. Research shows children who attend BPS preschool are more prepared for kindergarten in the areas of early math, reading, and social-emotional development.
The City of Boston provides high-quality preschool for every 4-year-old living in the city at no cost to families. Boston Universal Pre-K is funded by $15 million from the City of Boston and the Mayor's Office.
All Boston children who are four years old on or before September 1 are eligible for Universal Pre-K. The preschool program is a 6.5-hour school day at either a BPS school or a UPK community-based center for 180 days per year. See a map of Boston UPK community-based locations for 2021-2022 here.
A new pilot program to serve a limited number of 3-year-olds in community-based centers began in the 2021-22 school year. Not all Boston UPK sites serve 3-year-olds in the initial pilot program. Spaces allocated for 3-year-olds are presently full and a waitlist is maintained should any of those spaces become available later. Boston UPK hopes to expand the program to serve more 3-year-olds in subsequent years.
Registration for 2021-2022
Boston Universal Pre-K is still accepting applications for a limited number of 4-year-olds for pre-k in community-based centers across Boston for the 2021-22 school year. Caregivers seeking to enroll a child for UPK for the 2021-2022 school year should submit an application and will be contacted in the days following about enrollment next steps.
You will be prompted to create a user account and sign in to the enrollment system. You can enter an address to locate UPK sites near the child’s home or a caregiver’s workplace. You have the option to rank up to three choices. You can rank any site as one of your choices, regardless of which neighborhood of Boston you live in. After the online application is submitted, a staff member from Boston UPK or a community-based site will contact you about next steps.
All community-based centers offer pre-k at their sites in accordance with guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents and caregivers in the City of Boston can click here to fill out an application today for the 2021-2022 school year.
For questions on UPK - including eligibility, UPK options in community-based centers, or for assistance completing the online application - please contact Joelle Auguste, Boston UPK Family Engagement and Comprehensive Services Manager, who can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 857-342-2738.
Download a flyer below to spread the word that UPK registration is open for 2021-22. The flyer is available in 10 languages:
Upcoming registration for 2022-23
Community-based centers: Registration for pre-k in community-based centers has not yet started for the 2022-23 school year. Information will be posted here when the application system opens for community-based sites. This is expected to begin in early 2022.
BPS K1/K0: If you are seeking to register for pre-k in Boston Public Schools classrooms, please contact BPS Welcome Services. School-based pre-k classrooms serve students who are four years old as of September 1 (K1), and BPS provides early childhood programs for three-year-old children with identified special needs (K0). Registration for BPS K1/K0 for the 2022-23 school year begins January 5, 2022, with priority registration ending January 28, 2022. For more information, please visit the BPS Welcome Services website or call 617-635-9046.
What does high-quality pre-k mean?
- Boston Public Schools program exceeds national standards.
- All pre-k teachers have a degree in early childhood education and are prepared to teach in classroom settings to support students of all backgrounds and needs.
- Teachers receive ongoing professional development throughout the year to enhance their teaching.
- Expert coaches provide ongoing support to teachers.
- Students learn from the Boston Public Schools Focus on K1 Curriculum and Building Blocks Curriculum, which are national models in early childhood education.
- All classroom environments are age-appropriate and culturally responsive.
- Small classrooms with 2 educators for 20 students.
- Nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
- Each community early learning center has a Parent Engagement Coordinator available to provide support to families to meet their individual needs.
Why is pre-k important for your child?
Research shows that children who attended the BPS Pre-k program continue to outperform students who did not attend, and have long-term academic achievement.
Students in our program will work toward becoming well-rounded students better prepared for school and life through:
- Play-centered learning in small classrooms;
- Developing routines and become comfortable with classroom structures;
- Building positive relationships with other children and teachers;
- Building social, emotional, critical thinking, math and reading skills; and
- Working independently and in groups to explore new ideas, question concepts, and share their feelings, becoming well-rounded students better prepared for school and life.
UPK Community-Based K1/BPS K2 Connector System
Boston Public Schools introduced a Connector System for students transitioning from Universal Pre-K (K1) in community-based centers to kindergarten (K2) in Boston Public Schools in 2020.
The Connector system aims to ensure continuity of the kindergarten experience from UPK in a community-based setting to K2 in a BPS school. The Connector gives priority to UPK children during the BPS lottery assignment for K2 in certain schools. There is no guaranteed connection between a UPK setting and a particular BPS school for K2; rather, the Connector gives families of UPK children a higher probability of admission to specific schools for K2. To be eligible for the UPK to BPS K2 Connector system, families must register their child during the annual BPS K2 priority registration period.
View a map of the current Connector schools here. Connector schools are subject to change.
The Boston School Committee approved the UPK Community-Based/Boston Public Schools Connector System in September 2020 after a 2017 pilot. View the slides presented by Boston UPK staff to the School Committee in August 2020 here. You can also find a memo explaining the logistics of the Connector system sent to the BPS Superintendent and Chairperson of the Boston School Committee in August 2020 here.
Note: If you need to register for kindergarten (K2) - your child turns 5 years old on or before September 1 - please visit www.bostonpublicschools.org/register or call BPS Welcome Services at 617-635-9046.
Joelle AugusteFamily Engagement & Comprehensive Services ManagerWork: (617) 635-9063Cell: (857) 342-2738You can also reach out directly to a community early learning center program to schedule a site visit.