Chicago, IL

Seats are still available for Chicago Public School's free preschool program

Jennifer Geer

With the first day of school on Monday, August 22, there is time to sign up, and thousands of seats are still available.

(CHICAGO) Experts agree that preschool has many benefits for children, and research shows kids who attend public preschool programs are more prepared for kindergarten than kids that don't.

However, during the pandemic, preschool enrollment dropped all over the country, and kids lost the benefits of early childhood education. In 2020 in Chicago, there was a 34% drop in pre-K enrollment, according to Chalkbeat.

Children aren't required by Illinois state law to attend school until age 6, meaning preschool is optional.

Free preschool for CPS students

Back in 2018, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to offer free preschool for all, but the pandemic delayed those plans until this year.

For the upcoming school year, Chicago Public Schools are offering free preschool programs to all 3 and 4-year-old CPS students.

There are currently 14,500 spots for children to attend the preschool program.

Though thousands have already applied, according to ABC7 Chicago, thousands of seats are still available. Leslie McKinily, interim chief officer of CPS' early childhood office, told ABC7 last week that about 4,000 seats were available for the full-day program and 1,000 for the half day.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in the pre-K program, you can head over to the CPS early childhood website here.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

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