NYS-TEACHS › Info by Topic: Preschool

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PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, the resources on this page may not be current.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.

Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

Early Childhood Education

Resources | Laws and Guidance

Pre-k programs offer a crucial opportunity for young children to develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills. The McKinney-Vento Act protects preschool children and entitles them the right to continued enrollment and transportation to their district of origin. In addition, younger children must have access to early intervention services. 42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(3)(I)(i).

Click on the links below to learn more about preschool for students experiencing homelessness.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Find answers to commonly asked questions about preschool for students in temporary housing situations.


Everything You Need to Know: Enrolling Children who are Homeless in Early Head Start and Head Start [PDF]

This presentation was given at the March 21, 2016 New York State Head Start Association Conference. It can be downloaded as a PDF or PPT file.

Serving Preschool Children Through Title I, Non Regulatory Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (2012) [PDF]

This Guidance provides important information about how Title I funds may be used for preschool services for children in temporary housing, including pre-k and Head Start.

Summary of Head Start Provisions on Homelessness and Foster Care [PDF]

On Wednesday, December 12, President Bush signed the "Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007" into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Head Start Act and contains numerous provisions on homelessness and foster care. This document from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) provides a summary of the provisions of the Act.

Meeting the Educational Needs of Preschool-Age Children [PDF]

This documents was prepared by Robert Frawley of the NYS Council on Children and Families and is intended to provide a description of major early care and education programs in New York State.

Directory of New York State Child Care Coordinating Council (NYSCCCC) Affiliates: Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Program

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) programs have three major purposes: to provide information and referral services to families seeking early care and education programming for their children (special emphasis on low-income families), to provide technical assistance to individuals and organization seeking to develop early care and education programs, and to provide training and educational opportunities for programs and individuals.


Housing Questionnaire and Tip Sheet for Head Start Programs

All Head Start Programs must prioritize children who are homelessness for enrollment. They also must collect data on the number of children enrolled who are homeless. This Tip Sheet has information about how Head Start programs can identify children experiencing homelessness and connect them with Head Start Programs. The Housing Questionnaire should be used by Head Start staff as a part of the enrollment process to identify any child who is homeless. If you would like to share the Tip Sheet electronically, click here for the version with embedded hyperlinks. If you would like to print out the Tip Sheet with the links spelled out, click here.

Pre-K Class Size Variance Request

Pre-K classrooms are capped at twenty children. However, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) will grant a class-size variance to allow a 21st child in the classroom if that child is in temporary housing. To get a variance, the Pre-K program should complete this Pre-K Class Size Variance Request and email it to NYSED’s Office of Early Learning at oel@nysed.gov. For more information, see NYSED’s 2015 Guidance Memo.

Laws and Guidance

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the information in the attached documents is now out of date.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which went into effect October 1, 2016. The new law impacts some of the information included here. Please continue to check nysteachs.org for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

Child Care Services for Families Experiencing Homelessness and Differential Payment Rates

On Friday, April 28, 2017, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services issued this Local Commissioners Memorandum (LCM), 17 OCFS LCM-05: "Child Care Services for Families Experiencing Homelessness and Differential Payment Rates." The LCM informs social services districts about recent changes to State regulations regarding the provision of child care services funded under the New York State Child Care Block Grant (NYSCCBG) and Title XX of the federal Social Security Act. The changes include: adding families experiencing homelessness as a priority population; adding certain families experiencing homelessness to the category of eligible families when districts have funds available; exempting families experiencing homelessness from contributing to the cost of care; providing an allowable grace period for children to attend child care programs; establishing a differential payment rate for child care services provided to a child experiencing homelessness; and amendments to the provisions for differential payment rates to child care providers who are accredited by a nationally recognized child care organization and/or provide care during nontraditional hours.

NYSED Field Memo: District-Administered Pre-K Programs for Children in Temporary Housing

This June 2015 field memo from the NY State Education Department provides guidance on the rights of students in temporary housing to access public preschool education programs offered by a school district. It also provides guidance to school districts on outreach and identification of preschool age temporarily housed children, how to request funding and seek class-size variance requests for programs that may already be full, and other early childhood education programs and services that may be available.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act [PDF]

Amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act now require that state education plans include procedures that ensure that children experiencing homelessness have access to public preschool programs, and the definition of school of origin now includes preschool.

New York State Education Law Section 3209 [Word doc]

Preschool is included by reference to McKinney-Vento in Section 2-a.

Regulations of the Commissioner of The New York State Education Department

Preschool Special Education Services are discussed in Part 200.16(a)-(f).


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