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HomeEducationColorado’s common preschool program now permits walk-in enrollment

Colorado’s common preschool program now permits walk-in enrollment


Inside Colorado’s free preschool initiative

A current change to Colorado’s common preschool guidelines now permits “walk-in” enrollment, permitting youngsters to start out lessons extra shortly — probably the identical day their households present up at an area preschool. 

The state made the change in late September after some preschool suppliers complained that they have been compelled to flip away households who confirmed up with out having first stuffed out the web utility and obtained a preschool match by means of the state’s laptop system. Below that course of, preschoolers generally waited every week or extra to start out class.

Now, as lengthy preschools have open spots, youngsters will be capable to begin the day they stroll in or shortly thereafter. Their households nonetheless should fill out the state’s common preschool utility, however typically they’ll be capable to try this on the spot, and their little one will probably be positioned instantly. Preschools may additionally require mother and father to offer key paperwork, such because the little one’s start certificates, proof of tackle, and immunization information.

The rule change is without doubt one of the methods state officers have tried to deal with criticism from some preschool suppliers, advocates, and lawmakers that this system’s utility course of is complicated for households and limits how a lot preschool suppliers might help them. 

Ian McKenzie, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Early Childhood, stated of the brand new rule in an e mail, “We’re delighted to point out it as an indication of the work [the department] is doing to satisfy the wants of households all through the college yr.”

For the reason that yr is already effectively underway, the brand new walk-in rule received’t have an effect on most common preschool households. Nevertheless, it can assist those that have just lately relocated or are simply discovering out about this system. 

Presently, about 38,000 4-year-olds and 9,000 3-year-olds get 10 to 30 hours every week of tuition-free preschool by means of the brand new state program — extra youngsters than the state initially anticipated. This system is open to all 4-year-olds statewide. They’ll attend in public faculties, non-public preschools, little one care facilities, and state-licensed houses. Three-year-olds with sure danger components are additionally eligible for this system, with lessons typically supplied solely in public faculties.

Households can nonetheless apply for common preschool this yr, both by filling out the web utility or going to a taking part preschool supplier instantly. 

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




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