NewsCovering Colorado


Universal Preschool will give 15 hours of free preschool starting in the 2023 school year

The director of the ECD department says they hope to serve 50% of all eligible kids
Children play at an Early Connections Learning Center
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 11:04:07-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Starting on Jan. 17, parents can apply for universal preschool for the 2023 school year, a new initiative from the Department of Early Childhood.

"Well, the research is clear for children: if they attend a high-quality preschool program, they're more likely to experience higher levels of educational attainment, and they're less likely to experience life-long negative outcomes," said Dr. Lisa Roy, Executive Director of the Department of Early Childhood.

The Department of Early Childhood was created in April with the passage of House Bill 22-1295. It aims to support children for the benefit of their future, as well as financially supporting families.

"It's offering a minimum of part-day, state-funded, high-quality voluntary preschool for every Colorado child in the year before they enter kindergarten," said Dr. Roy

Providers are currently applying to be recipients of Universal Preschool funding. If accepted, they'll be in charge of advertising their own free services to parents. Those services offer a minimum of 15 free hours of preschool per week.

"Families can choose from any licensed participating provider in the state, whether that's home-based, center-based, or school-based," continued Roy.

Several providers are excited about the rollout of this initiative, like the Early Connections Learning Center.

"This program has been such a long time coming in our state, and it's such an incredible investment in our state for the youngest members of our community," said President and CEO of the Early Connections Learning Center.

Early Connections offers full-time preschool at their locations across Colorado Springs. They plan on full integration in their classes between children utilizing universal preschool and those who do not.

The date for parents to apply will be on Jan. 17.

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