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Early education advocates weigh in on initial rollout of Colorado's Universal Preschool program

Colorado's new universal pre-K program brings lots of excitement, and some confusion
Colorado's new universal pre-K program brings lots of excitement, and some confusion 02:47

When Colorado's Universal Preschool program starts in the fall, Monica Staffieri is hoping her son Miles will be among the first to take part.

"I would love for him to be in preschool. I know it's really important that they get that first taste, and that learning is really important especially pre-5, so I never understood why we didn't (always have it)," she said.

But until just a few days ago, she wasn't entirely sure her family could apply for the 15 hours of free care a week.

"I guess I thought it was for only people who were doing the part time. I'm really excited that it's an option," Staffieri said.

Similar questions and concerns were discussed as the state, preschool providers and early education advocates came together Monday to talk about the rollout of the program so far.

Dr. Lisa Roy, Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Early Childhood Development, explained what is unique about the program.

"We are going to have a process where we continuously make changes and shifts based on the needs and families of children," she said.

Families can go online, enter their information, and find providers either home based, center based, or school based, and pick their top five to be matched with.

If you have a 4-year-old child, the program is for you.

"We have the funding for all 4 year olds or the year before they enter kindergarten to be in Pre-K for up to 15 hours," Roy said.

For Staffieri and so many other families the help can't come soon enough.

"As a family that has two working parents, the sooner we can get some support the better," she said.

There is also a targeted program for families with 3-year-olds who meet at least one qualifying factor. To learn more or apply visit the state's

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