As much as preschool is about giving young children a head start in learning, it’s also about economics. For New York City, one of the country’s largest and most racially segregated school districts, the start of free preschool for all 4-year-olds has major financial implications moving forward — and some working parents are already feeling it.
Nettia Caldwell is a single mother who works full time while completing an online bachelor’s program at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Universal pre-K for her son Jonathan means that she can continue working and studying.
“Universal pre-K is so important for working parents,” she said, seated in the library of the Little Star of Broome Street Early Childhood Centerin Manhattan, where her son is enrolled in a low-cost program for 3-year-olds. When he turns 4, he can enter universal pre-K.
“Without school for my son, I wouldn’t have enough time to work full time, study and teach him things,” Caldwell said.
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Story and photography by Marguerite Ward