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Mayor Harrell and Education Leaders Announce Expansion of City’s Award-Winning Seattle Preschool Program  

Applications for the 2024-2025 school year now open for Seattle three-and four-year-olds, with affordable and high-quality education programs available. 

Seattle (March 18, 2024) – As part of Seattle’s commitment to bring high-quality preschool to our city’s young learners, Mayor Bruce Harrell and education leaders announced 16 new classrooms for the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) today at Causey’s Learning Center. The event marked the opening of student applications for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year (SY). The city is investing up to $3.5 million for SPP classroom expansions for the 2024-2025 school year.  

“Providing affordable and high-quality education programs for our city’s kids ensures they are set up for success as they embark on their academic journey,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “By continuing to invest in more Seattle Preschool Program classrooms with inclusive curriculum and dedicated educators, we will reach even more families next school year. I invite all Seattle families with 3-and 4-year-old children to apply today, so that our city’s young learners are on the path to a bright future.” 

“We know that early learning is critical to the long-term academic and social success for all children,” said Councilmember and Chair of the Libraries, Education and Neighborhoods Committee Maritza Rivera. “This is why the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) is such an important part of the City’s investments in education via the Families and Education Levy. SPP investments help children enter elementary school, kindergarten ready, with the tools they need to learn, grow, and flourish. I’m proud of the City’s work around SPP. I am committed to working with the city’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) to expand access to SPP across the city.” 

Tuition for the Seattle Preschool Program is designed to fit the needs of all Seattle families, with a sliding scale based on household income and family size. Most families qualify for free or reduced tuition, with a priority to eliminate cost barriers especially for children experiencing homelessness, in foster care or kinship care. Currently nearly 70% of families pay no tuition.  

“Bringing affordable preschool education to Seattle families is vital for our region. A lot of families are still recuperating from the economic hardships of the pandemic, an increase in the cost of living and putting food on the table,” said Department of Education and Early Learning Director Dwane Chappelle. “If we can remove one less burden like supporting their child’s education through tuition assistance, then we are happy to provide an investment that will set up students for success especially in their formative years of life.”  

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 identified as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), compared to 53% BIPOC for the overall SPS kindergarten population, and 41% were from immigrant and refugee backgrounds compared to 16% of SPS kindergarteners. 

As shown in the recent Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) results, 74% of 2023-24 Seattle Public School kindergarteners met crucial benchmarks of social emotional, cognitive, literacy, language, physical and mathematics skills, the highest since data collection began in 2015. The 2022 Education Northwest SPP Evaluation found that Black, Asian, and English Language Learners were more likely to meet kindergartner readiness goals if they had participated in SPP. 

Parents can learn more about SPP sites and how to begin the application process at 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 DEEL at 206-386-1050 or email  

Nestled in the Central District of Seattle, Causey’s Learning Center has been serving the community for over 20 years as a proud family-owned business. Ruth Causey-Brown shares how partnering with the city and teaching children in an SPP classroom helps prepare students from all walks of life to learn: “One of the hallmarks of our approach is recognizing that every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, has boundless potential waiting to be unlocked. We believe in setting small, achievable goals and celebrating milestones along the way. It’s about instilling in our children the belief that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.” 

The Seattle Preschool Program helps prepare Seattle three and four-year-olds for kindergarten in partnership with community-based organizations, Family Child Care (FCC) providers, and Seattle Public Schools. The award-winning SPP program recently received, for the second year in a row, a CityHealth gold medal for high-quality, accessible preschool programming. In SY 24-25, SPP plans to have 27 partner organizations, with 97 preschool sites and 151 classrooms, adding 279 seats this year with the capacity to serve nearly 2,500 children citywide.  

SPP has expanded yearly since 2015 when it launched serving 283 children in 15 classrooms. With funding from the 2018 voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy, SPP is on schedule to serve 2,500 children by 2026. The program model funds preschool tuition on a sliding scale for families, professional development supports for educators, specialized instruction and accommodation for children with behavioral or developmental needs, capital projects and business development as well as child care subsidies for participating families.  

Three of this year’s expansion classrooms, operated by Seattle Public Schools, will provide SPP Plus programming, an inclusive model that joins children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and typically developing children. Thirty-four classrooms operated by SPS and the University of Washington offer SPP Plus programming.  

“We are on a mission to enroll as many children as possible into our Seattle Preschool Program, and we are committed, confident, and concentrated in reaching our FEPP Levy goal in serving 2,500 children by 2026,” said Early Learning Division Director Leilani Dela Cruz. 

The 16 new Seattle Preschool Program classrooms for the 2024-2025 school year are as follows: 

Agency/Site Name Location 
Community School of West Seattle Delridge 
First Place Preschool Doreen Cato Central District 
Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center – Rosen Preschool Madison Valley 
Primm ABC Childcare Columbia City 
Sound Child Care Solutions – Interlaken Preschool at Stevens Elementary School Capitol Hill 
Seattle Institute for Early Child Development – Hilltop Children’s Center Downtown Downtown 
Seattle Institute for Early Child Development – Hilltop Children’s Center Fremont Fremont 
Seattle Institute for Early Child Development – Hilltop Children’s Center Queen Anne Queen Anne 
Seattle Public Schools – John Hay Elementary School Queen Anne 
Seattle Public Schools – Leschi Elementary School Leschi 
Seed of Life Center for Early Learning at Orca K-8 Columbia City 
Seed of Life Center for Early Learning – The Metropole Building Downtown 
Tiny Tots at Helen Hicks Rainier Valley 
West African Community Council Hillman City 
YMCA Early Education Center at West Seattle Westwood 

Of the 16 new SPP classrooms, nine are in brand new SPP locations, five classrooms are at existing SPP locations, and two classrooms are graduating from an SPP Pathway classroom to full SPP implementation models. 

Director Chapelle reads a children's books to preschoolers.
Mayor Harrell hugs the Executive Director of Causey's Early Learning Center.