Preschool Program Producing Better Outcomes
Report: Colorado Preschool Program producing better outcomes for at-risk children
DENVER – The annual report of the Colorado Preschool Program shows a boost in state funding in 2013 and 2014 led to more children being able to access high quality early childhood education programs with trained instructors and better outcomes on statewide measures than at-risk children who did not participate in the program.
The Colorado Preschool Program is a state-funded early childhood education program administered by the Colorado Department of Education that focuses on at-risk children who are likely to start elementary school unprepared for academic success.
The annual report that was recently delivered to the legislature shows that increased funding under the Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) program allowed for 8,200 more children to become eligible for half- or full-day preschool or full-day kindergarten classes under the program.
“The education and care of our youngest learners is a priority for the Colorado Department of Education,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “Building the education foundation early in life is essential to helping children succeed later in life. That is why the Colorado Preschool Program plays such a critical role in our collective mission to increase academic achievement for all students and, ultimately, ensure that all students graduate high school ready for college or career.”
The report shows the Colorado Preschool Program’s success has been associated with measurable results, including impressive developmental growth among participants and better literacy rates for children in the program than their at-risk peers who did not participate in CPP.
The program now serves about 20,000 children enrolled in half-day preschool, more than 1,400 children in full-day preschool and about 5,400 children in full-day kindergarten programs. Nevertheless, it is estimated that nearly 8,400 at-risk children in Colorado still had no opportunity to attend preschool in 2015-16 through CPP or Head Start. Despite the legislature’s funding increases that raised per-pupil spending to $3,748 in 2014-15, that figure is still below the $4,521 national average.