Seattle Preschool Program

Mayor Murray reads a story to a preschool class at Neighborhood House's High Point location in Seattle


  • The Seattle Preschool Program Levy was proposed by Mayor Murray and the City Council, and was approved by voters in 2014.
  • The City also adopted a Seattle Preschool Program Action Plan that describes the demonstration project and the core guiding principles.
  • The Plan is anchored in evidence-based practice, acknowledging that program quality is vital to success.
  • The project will build toward serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018.


  • Participation is voluntary for providers and participants. All Seattle 4-year-olds are eligible to apply.
  • 3-year-olds who are from Seattle families making 300% of the federal poverty level and below will be eligible to apply.
  • Tuition is free for children from families earning less than 300% of the federal poverty level. Tuition is on a sliding scale for families earning more than 300% of the federal poverty level with at least some level of subsidy for all families.


  • Classrooms operate on a full-day schedule (5 days/week and 6 hours/day) with priority given to providers offering before/after care and summers.
  • The demonstration project includes funding to support facility renovations and improvements, and start up classrooms. Priority will be given to qualified community organizations and Seattle Public Schools and that meet the contracting guidelines set forth in the Action Plan.
  • Providers are required to adopt the approved curricula as detailed in the Implementation Plan.


  • Teachers receive on-site curriculum support and off-site training in areas of need, likely including: best practices in inclusion, bilingual education, cultural relevancy, and classroom management.


  • Preschool providers need to meet the following criteria to participate in the levy-financed demonstration project: be licensed, agree to adhere to program standards and meet other evaluative criteria outlined in the Implementation Plan.
  • Priority is given to providers that: provide more than two classrooms, provide dual language programs, offer before/after school care, offer summer care, are located in neighborhoods with low academic achievement, and are located in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of low-income households, English Language Learners, and incoming kindergartners.
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I have 3 kids and all my kids wend to 4 hours pre-school, I think full time 6 hours is very long time for kids who are age of 3 or 4 years old.

Pre-school should be good for 4 hours only not a full time.

Can non profit organizations who provide after school program apply this grant fund?

Office of Mayor Ed Murray
Office of Mayor Ed Murray moderator

@somalikts There are several requirements an organization must meet to be considered for funding, according to pages 8-17 of the Action Plan, which you can view here:

Some of the first requirements laid out in the plan that you might find helpful include:

  • They must be licensed by the Washington State Department of Early Learning to provide preschool services (or exempt from licensing requirements by virtue of being a public school or institution of higher education).
  • They must participate in the Early Achievers Program, hold a rating of Level 3 or above, and meet minimum requirements for the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) scores as determined through the Implementation Planning process.

In order to participate in the program, organizations must commit to:

  • Providing two or more preschool classrooms
  • Ensuring that all children in contracted classrooms are Seattle residents
  • Adhering to the program standards listed herein


Great and reasonable approach to solve what it seems like a complex problem. A lot of immigrant and refugee students are  left behind. Are we really preparing these folks for jails,prisons and homelessness? Involve the communities we serve..don't assume you really know their problems..



The Mayor and Councilman Burgess should remember a couple of things. 

We all like this idea (I honestly have not heard one person say no).  But the devil is in the details.  

Their plan seems to think there will be room at (or made) at Seattle Schools.  That is not in any capital planning right now.  SPS is maxed out and continues to grow and their first priority is K-12.  The City should not think of this really as an option because it certainly is not possible for the foreseeable future.

I also note that the City seems to be on the bandwagon for data on students.  Now they want data on preschoolers.  The Department of Education and Department of Labor are co-sharing an initiative to gather data on our public school students from pre-K to 20 to make a big data cloud.  And, it's not just test scores.  It's things like family income, discipline records, teacher comments, etc.  

I want my city to protect student data privacy, not give it away.