Colonie Youth Center (CYC) operates a New York State grant-funded full-day pre-kindergarten program at Menands School. This opportunity is open to Menands residents. 18 children are selected for the program through a random lottery held in the spring of the previous school year. Families must register their students before the lottery to be eligible for this program. 

Lottery Information for the 2024-25 school year

Registration is currently open for the 2024-25 school year.  Children are chosen for the program through a random lottery held in the spring. After the lottery drawing a waitlist will be kept in the event of a withdrawal of registration. Waitlist families will be chosen, if a vacancy opens, on a first-come, first-serve basis. To be considered for the waitlist for the 2024-25 school year, families must submit a completed application.

To qualify for this pre-K opportunity, students must be 4 years old by December 1, 2024 and residents of Menands. 

Registration Checklist

The following documents are required for registration:

  • Proof of Age: Student’s Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, or Passport
  • Immunization Records
  • Physical exam (within one year)
  • Residency Questionnaire
    • Proof of Residency: mortgage statement/deed/lease agreement, plus two additional proofs of residency.
      *An Affidavit of Residency must be filled out and notarized ONLY IF the parent/guardian resides in dwelling that they do not lease or own.
  • Photo ID of parent/guardian registering student (driver’s license or passport)
  • Student Registration Form Filled with parent signature
  • Foreign Language questionnaire
  • School Records Release Form
  • IEP (if applicable)
  • Custody Paperwork (if applicable)

Registration information can be found on the Student Registration section of our website.

Program information

The pre-K program at the Menands School has been made possible through the partnership with the Colonie Youth Center (CYC) and state grant funding. This program is a full-day educational experience for students to engage in play-based learning, explore identifying and expressing emotions, literacy and communications skills. 

The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and does not provide bus transportation. 

Information night

Stay tuned for more information on this years information night!
Check out our Pre-K brochure right HERE

About the Program

Menands pre-K started November 1, 2021. Menands School opened their doors and arms wide for their new littlest learners.

There is a maximum of 18 children in our pre-K classroom with one teacher and one teacher’s assistant. Our school has children in pre-K through eighth grade.

Our Pre-K school day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. Caregivers are responsible for providing transportation to and from school.

Currently, breakfast and lunch are provided. 


The UPK Lottery will be held in May at Menands School. Only students who are fully registered can participate in the lottery.

If anyone has questions about registration, please contact Trish O’Connell at

Importance of Pre-K

Prekindergarten provides children with many opportunities to explore the world around them in meaningful ways. In our pre-K classroom, we have a balanced schedule that consists of teacher initiated and child initiated learning activities. There are many opportunities to engage in activities, explore materials and interact with adults and peers in meaningful ways. Throughout the year, we have many different themes where we learn about some fun things such as celebrations around the world, animals, dinosaurs, space and so much more.

What a day in pre-K looks like

8:20-8:50 a.m.  Arrival – Wash Hands – Breakfast – Books
8:50 – 9:10 a.m. Morning Meeting
9:10–10:45 a.m. Centers
10:45– 11 a.m. Music & Movement – Bathroom & Wash Hands
11– 11:30 a.m. Lunch
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nap/Rest Time
12:30– 12:45 p.m. Snack
12:45– 12:50 p.m. SEL/Read-Aloud
12:50– 1:45 p.m. Centers
1:50 – 2 p.m. Developmental Whole Group & Pack-Up
2-2:30 p.m. Recess
2:30-2:40 p.m. Dismissal


Well-defined and labeled learning centers- print rich environment
-Instructional materials and equipment intentionally arranged in learning centers
All of this supports meaningful interactions: student – student, student – teachers

At least two hours and 10 minutes of center time daily- Teachers work with students during this time for differentiated instruction within small groups or individually.

Students are able to choose their centers and have free choice of what centers they go to. Centers are modified depending on the theme to enhance learning and concept development.

First few weeks of pre-K

In the first few weeks of Pre-K we focus on routine, rules, and social-emotional learning. Routine is the strongest thing to help students know what to expect next in their day. Once a routine is established students are able to move around the classroom independently with little teacher assistance.

We learn about smooth drop-off and pick-up (the first few weeks is always the hardest), sharing, forming relationships, creating a classroom community, learn how to take of the classroom, and using words for their needs and wants.

Small group instruction

Students are able to join a small group during center time. During this small group time we work on fine motor skills (tracing, cutting, etc.) as well as building background knowledge, phonics, expressive and receptive language, vocabulary development and phonemic awareness