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UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL OPENS DOORS FOR MORE FAMILIES
Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the state-funded Universal Preschool Colorado program offers every 4-year-old child the opportunity to attend a half-day (up to 15 hours) of preschool.
In the year before they are eligible for kindergarten, children with certain qualifying factors are eligible for an additional 15 hours on top of the half-day programming, making for a full day of preschool.
Additionally, 3-year-olds with qualifying factors are eligible for part-time (up to 10 hours) preschool programming.
In District 60, there are approximately 40 preschool classrooms, with each accommodating up to 15 students.
Once an application has been submitted, District officials will contact the applicant with an offer of placement at the school best suited for the child’s needs. The applicant is given a certain amount of time to respond to the offer and continue with the process.
If the offer is not accepted, the applicant will be placed back into the pool in anticipation of another offer of placement.
According to Early Childhood Specialist Darlene Bermudez, preschool can be of great benefit in preparing children for kindergarten.
“We’ve always promoted the readiness aspect: providing the structure and opportunities that children staying at home may not have,” Specialist Bermudez said. “The Universal Preschool program opens the doors to more families, in that 4-year-olds no longer have to qualify: their age alone qualifies them for preschool.
“Now, that’s for a limited amount of hours, but it still offers the opportunity to attend preschool within our District without any qualifications, such as being low income.”
Children who complete preschool, Specialist Bermudez said, traditionally have a smoother and more productive transition into kindergarten.
“Hopefully, they will be in their neighborhood school, where they will attend kindergarten,” she said. “And if they aren’t, families may find that the school the child attends preschool at becomes their neighborhood school.”
In the District, preschool is offered at the following schools:
- Baca Elementary
- Belmont Elementary
- Bessemer Academy
- Beulah Heights Elementary
- Bradford Elementary
- Columbian Elementary
- Goodnight School
- Haaff Elementary
- Heritage Elementary
- Highland Park Elementary
- Irving Elementary
- Minnequa Elementary
- Paragon Early Learning Center
- South Park Elementary
For more information, call 719-253-6016. To begin the application process, visit upk.Colorado.gov