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Mayor Harrell and Councilmember Tammy Morales Announce Expansion of City’s Award-Winning Seattle Preschool Program, Now With 89 Sites Citywide  

Applications for the 2023-2024 school year open today for Seattle three- and four-year olds, with dual-language and inclusive programming options available.  

Seattle (March 15, 2023) – Following a chorus of “Bienvenidos” by 40 preschoolers and their teachers, Mayor Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Tammy Morales announced seven new expansion classrooms for the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), 2022 winner of a CityHealth gold medal for high-quality, accessible preschool programming. New expansion partner, La Escuelita Bilingual School, hosted City leaders at their Columbia City site for the announcement, marking the opening of student applications for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. This year, the program will provide seats for approximately 2,200 children. 

“Investments in the success of our children are investments in the success of our city,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “High-quality early learning programs like the award-winning Seattle Preschool Program create pathways to a strong, prosperous future for all kids, and this expansion to include new dual-language classrooms will provide critical early support to even more youth and families. I encourage all Seattle families with 3- and 4-year-old children to apply and help set your young learners up for a successful future in school and life.” 

The Seattle Preschool Program, managed by the Department of Education and Early Learning, helps prepare Seattle three- and four-year olds for kindergarten in partnership with Seattle Public Schools, community-based programs, and Family Child Care (FCC) providers, with a total of 89 sites and 138 classrooms across the city. SPP tuition is free for most Seattle families, with rates for higher income families calculated based on household income and family size. 

“I’m thrilled to see not only the application launch for another year of the Seattle Preschool Program, but also its expansion of seven new classrooms,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales. “District 2 has seen exponential growth with SPP service sites from six in 2015-16 to thirty-five sites in 2023. My daughter attended La Escuelita and I am proud of the high-quality education that SPP provides. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Mayor and our Department of Education and Early Learning to make sure we are investing in our young people and our teacher workforce.” 

“Over forty years ago, I was La Escuelita’s first student, when my parents started the business as a family child care in their basement,” said MariSol Massó Lincoln, Executive Director for La Escuelita Bilingual School, who will add three dual-language classrooms to the program. “Now a fully licensed bicultural school and safe space for Latino, immigrant, Afro-descendant and LBGTQ+ families and teachers, we are excited to be partnering with the Seattle Preschool Program to make access to quality dual-language programming more accessible for our community.”  

The addition of La Escuelita brings SPP’s total number of dual-language classes to 28, with eight languages supported—including Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language. Dual-language SPP classrooms are an important component in providing culturally responsive programming, one of SPP’s key strategies in building high quality learning environments that contribute to equity results. Research indicates that children who learn more than one language assess as cognitively, academically, intellectually, socially, and verbally more advanced than monolingual children.   

In addition to new dual-language classrooms, three of this year’s expansion classrooms—operated by Seattle Public Schools—will provide SPP Plus programming, an inclusive classroom model that joins children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and typically developing children. Parents can learn more about SPP program sites and how to begin the application process at

Classes for the 2023-2024 school year begin in September and follow a six-hour daily schedule, Monday through Friday, 180-plus days per year, with many programs also offering extended-day child care. Programming provides students with foundational pre-academic skills and social-emotional growth that better prepares them for kindergarten. This summer, for the third year, many SPP providers will also extend programming through the summer months, providing additional support and development opportunities for rising kindergarteners. 

SPP has expanded yearly since its 2015 launch when 15 classrooms were supported. Funded now by the 2018 voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy, SPP is on schedule to serve 2,500 children by 2026. Funding includes preschool services and tuition, quality practice and professional development supports for educators, comprehensive classroom supports for addressing behavioral and developmental needs, organizational and facilities development, and child care subsidies for participating families. 

Under the FEPP Levy, the Seattle Preschool Program is focused on advancing educational equity and reducing race-based opportunity gaps in kindergarten readiness. In 2021-2022, 77% of SPP participants were Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) compared to 53% BIPOC for the overall SPS kindergarten population, and 37% were from immigrant and refugee backgrounds compared to 15% of SPS kindergarteners. Black/African American children and English Language Learners who participated in SPP in 2021-2022 outperformed their non-SPP peers on the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) assessment, which measures growth across six domains: social-emotional, cognitive, literacy, language, physical, and mathematics. 

The seven new Seattle Preschool Program classrooms for the 2023-2024 school year are as follows: 

Agency/Site Name Location Expansion Details 
Associated Recreation Council (ARC) – Ballard Community Center Ballard  Existing partner, expansion site 
La Escuelita Bilingual School Greenlake New SPP partner + site 
La Escuelita Bilingual School (Two classrooms) Columbia City New SPP partner + site 
Seattle Public Schools – Cascadia Elementary (Two classrooms) Licton Springs/Northgate Existing partner, expansion site  
Seattle Public Schools –  
North Beach Elementary 
Crown Hill Existing partner, expansion site  

SPP applications are available at in English, Amharic, Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. Families who need language assistance to complete the application process can contact Department of Education and Early Learning at 206-386-1050 or email

Mayor Harrell and Councilmember Morales pose with students at La Escuelita.