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Universal Pre-Kindergarten is Coming to Chicago

Universal Pre-Kindergarten is Coming to Chicago!

Early education is a necessity for every child, not a luxury for some children. Universal free full-day pre-kindergarten ensures that every child in Chicago, regardless of their family’s resources, gets the great start that all children deserve.

In May 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to make full-day free pre-kindergarten universal for 4-year-olds across Chicago. This investment will help level the playing field, further close the achievement gap and build stronger communities in Chicago for years to come.


 Fall 2018

3,700 full-day seats will be added in Chicago Public Schools, prioritizing the most vulnerable children 

 2019 - 2021

Additional free seats for 4-year-olds will be added as Chicago ramps up to free universal full-day pre-kindergarten, prioritizing the areas with the most need

 Fall 2021

Every 4-year-old across the city will have access to free, full-day pre-kindergarten


The plan focuses first on children and families most in need and will expand each year to ensure universal access to high quality programs. In the first year, expanded programming will focus on families of four who make less than $46,435 per year.

By 2021, Mayor Emanuel will have added 3.5 years of classroom time since 2011, when Chicago adding classroom time so that it no longer had the shortest school day and the shortest school year in the country. Universal Pre-K is a critical element of the Mayor’s plan to provide a full Pre-K-to-14 education for Chicago students, expanding from a K-12 model. And the academic results are paying off, with researchers at Stanford and the University of Chicago pointing to CPS as the place to learn how to improve urban education.


Sign up for updates on the City’s Universal Pre-K rollout.


Read the City of Chicago’s press release for more details.