School Views: State-funded universal pre-K comes to Eagle County |

School Views: State-funded universal pre-K comes to Eagle County

Liz Costaldo, Julia Kozusko and Shelley Smith
School Views

Enrollment for the state-funded universal preschool program opened to Eagle County families on Jan. 17, 2023. Since then, approximately 365 applications have been submitted for the Eagle River Valley, which exceeds projections and has a higher level of participation than most regions across the state.

This success stems from the willingness of Eagle County’s early childhood providers to engage in the program, even with the many unknowns that come with a new program such as this. Families with children that turn 4 on or before Oct. 1, 2023, will now benefit from the state-funded monthly tuition credit for nine months of the year at the preschool of their choice. For families who receive additional childcare subsidies, children may be able to spend more time in preschool such as full or extended days.

Early Childhood Partners and Eagle County School District are partnering as the local coordinating organization charged with the successful implementation of Colorado’s universal preschool in order to ensure a seamless transition for all families and childcare providers in our community. They have been reaching out to individual families and providers so that our community can fully access the benefits of this program.

In an effort to continue our outreach, we will be hosting several events during the Week of the Young Child from April 3-8. This outreach includes a Family Fair on April 3 at the Edwards Early Learning Center from 2 to 4 p.m. and a celebration on Saturday, April 8 at Eagle Valley Elementary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People will be on hand to answer any questions families have about UPK and how it works. Fun activities such as face painting, a bouncy castle and a book walk will also be available for all kids to enjoy. For more information email

The goal of our local coordinating organization goes beyond universal preschool. We want to have a comprehensive system for early childhood care and education in Eagle County so that all families have access to high-quality programs. In that effort, our local coordinating organization is working closely with Eagle County government and every other child and family-serving organization in our community.

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Decades of research tell us that children who have access to high-quality early childhood education experience more positive outcomes throughout their lives. These outcomes include better physical health as an adult, better mental health, and better academic success. The importance of early childhood education has grown in recent years and our community is positioned well to benefit from the new opportunities coming from the federal, state and local governments.

On April 3, Dr. Lisa Roy, executive director for the Colorado Department of Childhood will be joining local leaders to discuss this important work. More information about universal preschool and the Department of Early Childhood can be found on the Colorado Department of Education’s website.

Liz Costaldo is the director of operations for Early Childhood Partners. Julia Kozusko is the executive director of Early Childhood Partners. Shelley Smith is the director of the Early Childhood Department for Eagle County School District.

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