What is the Seattle Preschool Program? & How to Apply

Seattle Preschool ProgramThis month was a big step forward on the path to universal preschool with the City of Seattle selecting the first locations and providers for the Seattle Preschool Program (press release here – this is the preschool initiative you voted for last fall – proposition 1B). Starting in September these first classrooms will serve 230 students in South Seattle, the Central District, Downtown and Greenwood. The plan is to then expand the network adding additional providers (like Tiny Trees Preschool) to serve 2,000 three and four year olds a year by 2018. This program is very much a pilot, but if successful you will most likely see an expansion on the 2018 ballot to help even more children and families attend. The four preschools that will start this September are:

  • Causey’s Early Learning Center – Central District & Beacon Hill.
  • Community Day School Association – Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Delridge & Leschi.
  • Sound Childcare Solutions – Downtown & Mt. Baker.
  • Creative Kids – Greenwood

How do you qualify?

All children will qualify for SPP at some point in their preschool career, most likely when they are 4 years old (although there is support for 3 year olds the priority and majority of the funding is for 4 year olds). All Seattle Preschool Program classrooms are full day (6 hours), 5 days a week (M-F) and most have optional after care at an additional cost.

  • All 4-year-olds in the city are eligible to apply. It doesn’t matter if you make a lot or very little money. There is a great tuition calculator on the Seattle Preschool Program website – overall most families receive a big subsidy. A family of 4 that makes $100,000 would pay only $2,477 for 10 months of preschool. That’s over $8,000 off the sticker price!
  • Only 3-year-olds from families that make 300% or below of the Federal Poverty Line can apply (roughly $75,000 for a family of 4).
  • The priority is for families who live in the neighborhood surrounding a selected preschool. That means if Tiny Trees at Camp Long became a provider priority would be for West Seattle and Delridge families.

Will Tiny Trees Preschool be a part of Seattle Preschool Program?

Yes! We hope to be a provider at a number of our Seattle locations. We believe the Seattle Preschool Program is a big step towards a future where every child attends a high quality preschool (and where their parents don’t go broke getting them there). Tiny Trees will be applying to be a part of the Pathways program this fall for a September 2016 start. Since Tiny Trees is opening new preschools we do not yet have classrooms to be evaluated and given a quality rating – the Pathways program is designed for startups like Tiny Trees to help us qualify for the Seattle Preschool Program – our staff will have access to trainings and support and an opportunity to be evaluated by Early Achievers for quality. The best part is if we are selected for the Pathways program Tiny Trees will be able to offer FREE half day Preschool for families that make $75,000 a year or less (300% of federal poverty).  We hope to then qualify to be a provider for the Seattle Preschool Program for full day preschool (6hr) in 2017 or 2018.

How do you apply for the Seattle Preschool Program?

You can find the complete list of preschools and apply for this September on the Seattle Preschool Program website. Check out the SPP tuition calculator and SPP application information documents on the site and if SPP looks like a fit for your little one you can apply by filling out this SPP application form and emailing it to SPPapplication@seattle.gov (or snail mail at the address provided on the form). Please note: the deadline for 2015 Seattle Preschool Program applications is Friday, July 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm.

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