New York City’s Pre-K for All program has more than tripled the number of children enrolled in universal pre-K classes from 19,000 to 70,000 students since it began in 2013. Amid this rapid expansion, a remarkable 94% of the city’s pre-K programs met or exceeded nationally recognized standards for high-quality pre-K education—and Bank Street College of Education played a pivotal role when the New York City Department of Education reached out for help developing and launching the initiative.

How Bank Street Supported the Universal Pre-K for All Rollout

As the city set its sights on providing free, high-quality pre-K to all 4-year-olds and their families, Bank Street President Shael Polakow-Suransky, who has held top-level positions in the city’s Department of Education, was asked by the NYC Department of Education if Bank Street could help out. He focused on the challenge of teacher retraining and told the New York Times that “the hardest thing is getting instructional quality at scale across thousands of classrooms.”

Bank Street sprang into action, with over 400 alumni serving as coaches and facilitators for a new generation of some 4,000 early childhood educators, illustrating developmental-interaction in action, and sharing their professional experience with child-centered practice. Since then, Bank Street has stayed involved and held professional development workshops and summer institutes and provided in-class facilitators to help teachers strengthen their developmental-interaction and social-emotional learning skills. Bank Street continues to support the pre-K program, which has proven to be one of the most successful in the country.

As Pre-K Expands, So Do Opportunities for Teachers

With expectations for quality education continuing to grow throughout the more than 1,800 settings across the city, professional opportunities for early childhood educators are also on the rise, especially for teachers with master’s degrees and certifications who can continue to improve pre-K offerings citywide.

In addition to these training programs, the Bank Street Graduate School offers master’s degree and advanced certificate programs developed for teachers and future leaders in education. They are the Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education,  Early Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification – M.S.Ed and Early Childhood Leadership Advanced Certificate Program.

These programs, offered in both online and on-campus formats, prepare teachers and educational leaders to support the emotional, educational, social, and academic needs of students.