NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the first wave of new spots available in the city’s pre-kindergarten program on Wednesday.

The announcement comes just as the first of many deadlines for parents to apply for pre-kindergarten quickly approaches.

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported Wednesday, de Blasio stopped by P.S. 239’s pre-K program in Queens to read to children and encourage parents citywide to enroll now for pre-kindergarten next fall.

“We need them to apply for the public school seats. For the seats that are available in our public school buildings, the deadline is April 23,” he said.

Click here to enroll your child in pre-kindergarten.

There will be rolling admissions for community-based pre-K programs as they become available, but the mayor said the key is to apply often, Jones reported.

“The bottom line is now, that we need to get the word out to parents that it’s time to sign up,” the mayor said.

De Blasio also announced the city will open more than 4,200 brand new full-day pre-K seats across New York City this September, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

Just before his announcement, the mayor read “The Hungry Caterpillar” to a group of pre-K students and got a surprise from the crowd.

“Because of the young man who put up his hand as I was reading to this pre-K class and he said he wanted to tell me a word he learned. I’m like what’s the word you learned. He says metamorphosis. I was taken a-back,” de Blasio said.

President Barack Obama applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio on securing funding for full-day pre-K statewide.

“New York’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over five years to begin to phase in publicly-funded preschool across the state will provide opportunity for thousands of children, including 53,000 children who will be able to attend preschool in New York City this fall,” the White House said in a statement.

De Blasio said the goal is to offer 53,000 pre-kindergarten seats by this fall and seats for every child by next year.

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