Seattle Preschool Program

We are one Seattle; we have one inclusive preschool program and all are welcome. Our children are not segregated by family income or ability. We offer specialized dual-language and inclusion classrooms. Children in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) learn, grow and share experiences with peers from all backgrounds.

Full-day, high-quality preschool that meets working families' schedules can cost up to $12,000 per year. While affluent families can pay out-of-pocket, and the lowest and middle-income families have few affordable options to access high-quality programs. SPP bridges this accessibility gap and ensures more children have access to high-quality programming.

SPP is free for children from low-income families and subsidized on a sliding scale for middle-income families. Coupled with our intensive teacher professional development and coaching, SPP can make quality preschool accessible and affordable for all children.

Background

In September 2013, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 31478, which supports the goal of creating a program to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available and affordable to all of Seattle's 3- and 4-year-old children.

In 2014, voters approved a $58 million levy to increase children's access to affordable, high-quality preschool and to close the kindergarten readiness gap. With this funding, we began enrolling children in preschool who could otherwise not afford it and made strides toward increasing access to high-quality classrooms throughout Seattle.

Since 2015, the program has provided free or affordable preschool to over 850 families and quality enhancement support for 33 preschool classrooms throughout Seattle. We are on track to enroll 1,000 children in 54 classrooms for the 2017-18 school year; all at an average cost of just over $12,000 per child. The pilot ends after the 2018- 19 school year, in which we aim to enroll more than 1,500 preschool children.


Highlights

  • Accessible and affordable: Our goal is to make quality preschool affordable for all. We provide free or affordable tuition for income-eligible families to attend preschool in high-quality classrooms run by Seattle Public Schools and community-based organizations across the city.  
  • High Quality: Our goal is to ensure our classrooms are high-quality and continue to improve. We use evidence-based curriculum and promote culturally responsive, engaging, and nurturing adult/child interactions to create quality learning environments.
  • Equitable: Our goal is to eliminate the racially disproportionate-kindergarten readiness gap. Our approach is to support teachers to meet the needs of all children through student-focused coaching, on-going curriculum training, and data analysis that uses a racial equity lens.

Want to dive deeper around Seattle Preschool Program results and data? Check out our Tableau pages here.