Universal Pre-K (UPK) In Larimer County

Early Childhood Council of Larimer County (ECCLC) is thrilled to be Larimer County’s Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) for Universal Pre-K (also known as UPK, universal pre-kindergarten, and universal preschool). We will continually be updating this page with opportunities to collaborate and learn. We are determined to ensure that UPK works our way in Larimer County. That means we will strive to make sure that everyone impacted by UPK, including families, early care and education providers, community partners, government, and local organizations, has a voice–and say–in how UPK plays out in Larimer County.

Sign up for email communications about UPK in Larimer County here or via the QR code.

 

Planning Sessions:

  • FOR FAMILIES: Universal Preschool is coming in the Fall of 2023. All Colorado children in their pre-kindergarten year will be eligible for 10 hours of free preschool per week. How is this going to work in Larimer County? We want to hear from you! Please join us for our family-focused discussion in Fort Collins or Loveland on Thursday, September 22nd from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Dinner, child care, and Spanish interpretation will be available at each location. Download more information in our English Flyer or Spanish Flyer. Please register by September 16th!
    Loveland Registration – Here
    Fort Collins Registration – Here
  • FOR PROVIDERS: ECCLC will be hosting a community planning session with early care and education providers on Tuesday, September 27 from 6-7:30 p.m. You may register here!

Community Presentations:

  • Learn more about UPK at the Community Resource Fair hosted by the EVICS Family Resource Center on Tuesday, October 4th from 12-6 pm at 1125 Rooftop Way in Estes Park, CO. Come and learn about arts and culture, community and education, conservation, environment, recreation, emergency and human resources, healthcare and wellness, youth and families and more! For more information call 970-586-3055 or email [email protected]

UPK FAQs

What is Universal Pre-K (UPK)? 

  • 10 hours a week of free, high-quality, voluntary preschool to every Colorado child in their year before entering kindergarten
  • Allows families to choose the right setting for their child, whether it is in a licensed community-based, school-based or home-based preschool setting
  • A result of the voter-approved Proposition EE
  • Launches in 2023 for the 2023-2024 school year 

Will UPK have a universal application? 

  • Yes! The UPK application will initially be available in English, Spanish and Arabic.
  • The UPK application will be ready in January to support enrollment.

As a parent, is there anything I can do now to prepare for the UPK application? 

  • Yes, make sure you have a copy (PDF, digital, photocopy, etc.) of your child’s birth certificate. You will need this to register your child for UPK. Learn more about how to obtain a birth certificate in Larimer County here.

Why will UPK have a mixed delivery system? 

  • A mixed delivery model allows parents to choose among different program types (i.e., centers, homes, preschool – private and public) and select one that best meets their needs.
  • Children can participate in a program that meets their development and learning style

What is ECCLC doing about early care and education workforce issues in Larimer County? 

  • ECCLC is recently rolled out a workforce roadmap to make targeted recommendations for Larimer County. The roadmap focuses on improving recruitment and retention, achieving higher compensation of ECE professionals, and ongoing professional development.

Will Universal Pre-K replace the existing Colorado Preschool Program? 

  • Universal preschool will replace the existing Colorado Preschool Program, which provides 10 hours a week of preschool for at-risk students and is administered by school districts. Some children will qualify for more than 10 state-funded hours based on risk factors that are still to be developed.

What if families need more than 10 hours of preschool a week? 

  • Families can choose to pay for more hours of preschool based on their needs.
  • Children also will continue to qualify for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program, Head Start and other funding sources, which can be stacked on top of the 10 universal preschool hours.

Why isn’t there more information about UPK? 

  • As part of the planning process and to ensure UPK meets the needs of every unique community, YOUR input matters–as a parent, provider, or community member. You can help inform how UPK in Larimer County is developed. Participate in one of our planning sessions outlined above!

What is an LCO? 

  • Local Coordinating Organizations (LCOs) will be responsible for the coordination of Universal Preschool at the local level – this includes supporting families in navigating enrollment, tracking and reporting on seat availability in preschools, communicating with and supporting providers, and ensuring the smooth rollout of at least ten hours of free voluntary preschool for every child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten. In time, CDEC will work with LCOs to broaden their areas of coordination, building a cohesive system among all early childhood service providers in their catchment area.
  • Learn more about what an LCO is and ECCLC’s role in implementing universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) here.

UPK Our Way — Share Your Ideas and Comments

ECCLC has created a form to collect any ideas and comments you may have about UPK. As your dedicated partner and LCO, we will work diligently to answer those questions in a timely fashion. ECCLC looks forward to supporting you in doing what you do best- providing high quality care to the children and families of Larimer County.