Universal Prekindergarten Program

  • UPK Registrations are accepted year-round.  

    Register Here! 
     
    Applications were due by March 8, 2024 to be considered for the lottery.
    Those submitted after March 8 will be placed on a wait list.

    UPK stands for Universal Prekindergarten. UPK is a New York State grant funded program offered to eligible resident children free of charge. It is a developmentally appropriate, play based, learner-centered educational program to support four-year-olds in the five domains developing physically, socially, emotionally, linguistically, culturally and intellectually. The program has a strong emphasis on early literacy, early numeracy aligned with the New York State PreK Curriculum.


    How do I apply for UPK?
    All UPK application/registration is done online. Start your online registration here. The district does not have a first-come, first-serve list and application and registration are accepted on a rolling basis. Your application and registration to the UPK 2024-25 program does not signify your child’s acceptance into the program. Not all families who register for UPK are guaranteed a spot. All names will be entered into a random, digitized lottery process to determine acceptance into the UPK program. Students who are not selected via the lottery will be placed on a wait list. All applications that have been completed (with all supporting documents) by the registration deadline will be included in the lottery.


    Full-Day: The district offers full-day UPK classes at Smallwood Drive Elementary, at Windermere Boulevard Elementary and at Amherst Community Church Child Care Center (ACCCCC). 

    Half-Day: The district-run UPK program will offer a morning half-day class at Amherst Nursery School. 

    Transportation: Busing will be provided to and from all district-run UPK locations. To be eligible for transportation, you must reside within the Amherst CSD boundaries and the child must be four years old. As per NYS guidelines, we cannot transport children who are three years old.

    Who is Eligible: Your child must reside within the Amherst CSD boundaries and must be 4 years old on or before December 1, 2024 to be eligible for the 2024-2025 school year. A child who is eligible to attend kindergarten is not eligible for the UPK program. Your child is only eligible to attend UPK the year they turn four prior to Dec. 1.

    Lottery System: All names will be entered into a random, digitized lottery process to determine acceptance into the UPK program. Students who are not selected via the lottery will be placed on a wait list.  Not all families who register for UPK are guaranteed a spot in the program. The lottery will be held on a scheduled date after the registration deadline. Parents will be notified of the lottery results by email within two days of the drawing. A letter from the district will be sent to parents prior to April 1. Classroom assignments are mailed to families in August.

    Site Preference: Parents select site preferences, but placements are not guaranteed. As a result of the program being funded by state grants, definite confirmation will occur only after the New York State budget is passed and Universal Prekindergarten funding is guaranteed. Parents will receive an initial confirmation with site location by April 1. In August, families will receive a placement letter with their child’s teacher, supply list and school information.


    Timeline:

    • Feb. 5 - March 8, 2024: Registration and application window to be included in the lottery.
    • March 8, 2024: Deadline for all registration and supporting documents to be submitted. Applications submitted after March 8 will be placed on the wait list.
    • March 11, 2024: Random, digitized lottery to be held. 
    • April 1, 2024: Parents notified of lottery results.
    • August 2024: Classroom and teacher assignment letters are mailed. UPK classroom supplies are provided to students.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are the UPK locations and hours?

  • How does the lottery and wait list work?

  • Is there a cost?

  • What Does A Full Day Look Like?

  • Is breakfast and lunch provided for my child?

  • Does my child have to attend five days a week?

  • If my child receives preschool special education services, are they eligible for UPK?

Contact Us

  • Registration Questions? Contact the Central Registrar
    Sally Cukierski, Central Registrar
    716-362-3030

    Program Questions? Contact the Pre-K Office
    Karen Redding, PreK Coordinator
    716-362-4184
    Office hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. You can expect a reply on those days.


    2024-25 UPK Handbook