Cambridge, Mass., is moving one big step closer to launching its universal preschool program, the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP).

The city has just announced that starting this winter, parents can apply to enroll in the preschool program for the 2024-2025 school year.

As The Boston Globe reports, “The move is aimed at increasing access to high-quality early education in one of Massachusetts’ most expensive cities, home to Harvard and MIT, where private prekindergarten costs $20,000 to more than $30,000 per year.”

The Globe adds, “Cambridge joins other cities, such as Boston and Springfield, in making free prekindergarten accessible for all children.”

Cambridge expects to spend “about $20 million per year on preschool, money it found in its budget without having to make cuts to other services, officials said. The city has been planning for the new costs by setting aside $10 million in next year’s budget to help start the preschool program the following year.”

City leaders are strong supporters of CPP.

Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang says in a news release, “The City of Cambridge is committed to ensuring that every 4-year-old in Cambridge has access to high-quality education, and we are excited to make universal preschool a reality for our families in Fall 2024.”

“Every child in Cambridge deserves access to preschool regardless of their family’s income status,” Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui says. “Universal preschool has been a priority of my office, and for the City Council and School Committee, for many years. I look forward to the lasting impact of universal preschool on our community.”

CPP is open to children who live in Cambridge and who will be 4 years old by August 31, 2024. Children who will turn 3 years old by this date can apply if they meet specific eligibility requirements.

Using just one application, families can apply to “a variety of preschool settings” including preschool programs in public schools, those run by the city’s Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP), and community-based programs.

Families will have “the option of selecting extended day and summer preschool programs for an additional cost.”

“Delivering high-quality early learning experiences for our preschool students will be a game-changer for our families, and I am incredibly grateful for the community’s support as we move forward with this historic investment in our young people,” Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Victoria L. Greer said.

To learn more, check out the Cambridge Office of Early Childhood’s website.

And stay tuned as we keep our eye on Cambridge to see how its universal preschool program grows.