New high quality guidelines delayed for Colorado common preschool — science weblog

Inside Colorado’s free preschool initiative

Colorado received’t require preschools to make high quality enhancements in the course of the first 12 months of the state’s new common preschool program, which launches in August. 

State officers have persistently pledged that the brand new program will present high-quality preschool, which specialists say can produce short- and long-term advantages for youths. However they introduced this week what they referred to as “hold doing what you’re doing” steering. Meaning preschool suppliers can proceed with their present practices and insurance policies. 

The choice to carry off on mandating new preschool high quality requirements is extra proof of Colorado’s rush to roll out the main new program on an especially tight timeline — a difficulty that suppliers and advocates have raised repeatedly within the final 12 months. 

The common program will provide 10-30 hours per week of tuition-free preschool to 4-year-olds statewide and 10 hours per week to some 3-year-olds. It’s funded partially with a voter-approved nicotine tax. 

Daybreak Odean, the state’s common preschool director, mentioned in a press release Thursday the brand new steering was created to alleviate supplier issues about “the unknown” and permit them to organize for this system launch.

The state’s resolution implies that subsequent fall, greater than 30,000 Colorado kids who’ve signed up for common preschool will attend preschools that adjust broadly in high quality. Some will attend applications with the state’s prime Stage 5 ranking, which signifies excellence in a number of classes. Others will go to preschools with the bottom Stage 1 ranking, which signifies this system is licensed by the state and meets fundamental well being and security requirements. 

There are numerous methods to measure preschool high quality, however class measurement caps, workers credentials, instructor coaching necessities, and curriculum selection could also be among the many standards. The Nationwide Institute of Early Training Analysis at Rutgers College charges states utilizing 10 benchmarks of preschool high quality. Colorado’s present state-funded preschool program, which serves about 15,000 4-year-olds, solely meets 4 of the benchmarks.  

Colorado is permitting some suppliers to have 24 college students per class this fall, larger than the 16-student most the present state preschool program permits and the 20-student most the institute’s benchmark recommends.

Leaders from the Colorado Division of Early Childhood, which is operating the common preschool program, mentioned they’ll undertake high quality requirements within the fall that may take impact in the summertime of 2024. 

Ann Schimke is a senior reporter at Chalkbeat, protecting early childhood points and early literacy. Contact Ann at

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