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School Readiness and Preschool

Preschool Programs for Three- and Four-Year-Olds

The City of Seattle funds preschool programs which help children prepare for kindergarten, academically, socially and physically. These programs honor family, language and culture and help children develop the skills and love for learning that lead to academic success.

Seattle Step Ahead Preschools

The Seattle Step Ahead preschool program, funded by the 2011 Families and Education Levy offers culturally and linguistically appropriate preschools to eligible four-year-olds. The goal is to help participating children develop the skills they need to be successful in school and acquire a passion for lifelong learning.

Part-day programs provide a three and a half-hour instructional day for children, four to five days a week from September to June. Full-day programs provide six or more hours a day for children, five days a week from September to June. Teachers provide daily opportunities for children to improve skills in language and literacy, math concepts, science, social studies, arts, physical development, and social and emotional development.

The Seattle Human Services Department provides Families and Education Levy funds to Step Ahead Program classrooms for the school year. City allocations to the nonprofit, community-based organizations providing these services are determined through a competitive process that is conducted by the Human Services Department. Funding continuation during funding cycles depends upon program performance and funding availability.

For more information about the Step Ahead Preschools, download the flyer, call 206-386-1050 or e-mail childrenandfamilies@seattle.gov.

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), funded through the State of Washington’s Department of Early Learning and the City of Seattle, offers part-day, high-quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate preschool services for eligible three- and four-year-olds and their families. The primary goal is to help participating children develop the skills they need to be ready for school and acquire a passion for lifelong learning. Families have access to information, resources, and training that support them in moving towards their individual and family goals.

ECEAP also acknowledges that families are their child’s first teacher and it is important that families have access to information and resources that help support their child’s development

Each ECEAP site is unique and may offer a part-day preschool or full-day integrated services. Part-day programs provide three to four hours of instruction for children, four to five days a week from September to May/June. Full-day programs provide full day care for working families as well as preschool, five days a week from September to May/June. Teachers provide daily opportunities for children to improve skills in language and literacy, math, science, social studies, arts, physical, social and emotional development.

ECEAP provides:

  • Nurturing staff who are well-trained in how to foster each child's sense of security, confidence and readiness for kindergarten
  • Developmentally and culturally appropriate classroom activities designed to support the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of each child
  • Health, nutrition and developmental screenings to support healthy growth and development
  • Inclusive services for children with disabilities
  • A safe and healthy environment for children
  • Additional support for families including parent education and referrals for needed resources

The Seattle Human Services Department provides funds to non-profit, community-based organizations operating ECEAP classrooms for the 2013-2014 school year. Funding is provided by the WA State Department of Early Learning and the City of Seattle.

For more information about ECEAP, download the brochure, To be screened for eligibility and to apply, contact the program site directly or e-mail childrenandfamilies@seattle.gov.

Eligibility and Application Information for ECEAP and Seattle Step Ahead Programs

Part-day Step Ahead and ECEAP preschools are located in numerous locations in Seattle. Full-day Seattle Step Ahead and ECEAP Preschools are located in licensed child care centers in Seattle. Payment assistance may be available if families need help paying for a full-day program through the Working Connections Child Care or City of Seattle Child Care Assistance Program. The requirements for the ECEAP and Step Ahead Programs are listed below.

ECEAP Information:

  • Children must be three or four years old by August 31 of the participating year
  • Families must live or work in Seattle city limits
  • Families must be within the income limits below
  • Programs are located throughout Seattle
  • Foster children are eligible

Step Ahead Program Information:

  • Children must be three or four years old by August 31 of the participating year
  • Families must live in Seattle city limits
  • Programs are located in southeast and southwest Seattle

For both ECEAP and Step Ahead, families must be within the income limits listed below:

ECEAP and Step Ahead
Income Guidelines
2013 - 2014

Family Size

ECEAP Gross
Monthly Income

Step Ahead Gross
Monthly Income

2

$0 - $1,441

$1,423 - $3,879

3

$0 - $1,814

$1,792 - $4,884

4

$0 - $2,186

$2,160 - $5,889

5

$0 - $2,558

$2,529 - $6,894

6

$0 - $2,930

$2,897 - $7,899

7+

Please call us the program directly

Please call us.

To be screened for eligibility and to apply, contact the program directly or e-mail comprehensivechildcare@seattle.gov.

Bilingual services:

Cantonese and Mandarin — 206-386-1012
Lao and Mienh — 206-684-0605
Tagalog — 206-386-1011
Bahasa Malaysia and Cantonese - 206-386-1515
TDD — 206-233-2778
Interpretive services can be arranged for other languages at 206-386-1050.

For more information about our partners and similar programs, contact the agencies listed above or:

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.