Round 1 Public Prekindergarten deadlines are now up on the DOE's website.
March 5, 2012 the application period begins. That means that the directories will be available online and at your local school (if they have a prek class). You can begin the registration process online.
April 6, 2012 is the deadline to submit the application. I recommend that you do it online; it is harder to make a mistake and you get confirmation by email.
Week of June 11, 2012. Offer letters sent to families. This is a week later than in previous years. Most of the families who will be notified have siblings in the school or are zoned families whose schools have 3 or 4 prek classes.
June 12 - June 22, 2012. Pre-registration at schools. You need to do this in person and if you are offered a seat and you don't register at this time you lose the seat.
You might notice that there is no mention of the second round here. That is because they don't want to confuse the matter, but if you are the parent of a first or only children it is most likely that you will get a seat in the second round that happens in the LATE summer. Assume that you will hear about that placement in late August. But you are saying, "What do I do about my private preschool deposit?!" That, and the fact that you are not in any way guaranteed a public prek seat and you will be notified so late is the heartache of this process.
I recommend that you download the second round directory now, before they take it off the website, so that you can look at the previous year's numbers when the time comes.
For information on this process and the public kindergarten registration process (which is different and much easier) come to my Intro to Public School: Prek and Kindergarten talks.
For tickets: Mon. Jan. 9 at Madison Rose in Boerum Hill at 7pm
Tues. Jan. 10 at Hootenanny Art House in the South Slope at 7pm
You can apply to up to 12 schools on your application. You should be touring the schools when they get back from the holidays. Check the school's website, call the office or Parent Coordinator to find out when their tours are (usually one day a month at around 9am). The seats are limited and placement is made by Central DOE, not the schools! (lobbying does NOT help so don't waste your time). Placement is made by lottery, but it has priorities; first siblings are placed, then in-zone families, then out of zone/within the district, then out of district within the borough.