17,000 and counting: Families apply for absolutely free preschool in Colorado

Inside Colorado’s free preschool initiative

Close to 17,000 Colorado families have used for the state’s free of charge preschool system in the week considering the fact that the application opened on Jan. 17, a condition formal declared at a Wednesday meeting.  

The early burst of interest in the new preschool software could imply enrollment will exceed the 30,000 small children condition officers believed would participate in the course of the 1st 12 months. The first software window operates through Feb. 14, while people can still apply following that. 

Absolutely free preschool in Colorado
Households who fill out the application by Feb. 14 will locate out on March 10 which preschool their youngster was matched with.

The universal preschool plan, 1 of Gov. Jared Polis’ signature priorities, launches subsequent slide. It will supply 10 to 15 hours a 7 days of tuition-free preschool to 4-yr-olds statewide, with some eligible for 30 hours a 7 days. In addition, some 3-yr-olds will be suitable for 10 several hours a week.

At Wednesday’s on the web assembly of much more than 100 early childhood leaders and advocates,, Michael Cooke, the state’s early childhood transition director, said 2,100 of about 16,800 apps submitted so considerably are for 3-12 months-olds.  

She described the application’s opening day as a doozy, but explained, aside from a transient slowdown early on, “the technique managed it fantastically.” 

While many people have submitted purposes, several have lingering concerns about what preschools their young children will be matched with. State officers have explained kids will be prioritized at preschools wherever they are previously enrolled, wherever a sibling is enrolled, or exactly where a guardian functions. But people will not uncover out their preschool matches till at least mid-March. 

On social media and elsewhere, mothers and fathers have elevated little and massive concerns considering the fact that the application opened. Some have questioned how to be certain their preschoolers go on in twin-language classrooms or get assigned to unique academics who keep with college students for a number of several years.

Some moms and dads are upset that they just cannot enroll “redshirted” kids — those who they program to hold out of kindergarten future drop — for the state’s cost-free preschool method. (The program is largely for little ones the 12 months before they are qualified for kindergarten.)

Cooke mentioned on Wednesday that 1,600 preschool companies across Colorado have opted to participate — with at least one in all 64 counties. That’s a jump from the 1,027 suppliers that have been signed up soon before the application launched. 

Suppliers will get all-around $6,000 for each boy or girl for delivering 15 hours a 7 days of class time for the college year. They involve colleges, churches, little one treatment facilities, and state-licensed households.   

Do you have a query about Colorado’s universal preschool software? Allow us know at [email protected] and we’ll do our greatest to come across an reply.

Ann Schimke is a senior reporter at Chalkbeat, masking early childhood issues and early literacy. Get in touch with Ann at [email protected]

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