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Colorado Department of Early Childhood Executive Director Lisa Roy. Courtesy photo

The Chaffee County Early Childhood Council has announced that Colorado’s new universal preschool program (UPK) will launch in fall, 2023 and registration is open.

Every Colorado four-year-old (and some three-year-olds) is eligible for the program which will provide a minimum of 10 hours and up to 15 hours or more of preschool with the cost covered by the state.

Parents can enroll their four-year-olds in the free, half-day, high-quality preschool program. Participation is voluntary, and there are eight, licensed Chaffee County providers from which to select. The program is available through what is referred to as “a mixed delivery model”, meaning that families can choose to send their child to any licensed preschool, whether it is school-based, community-based, or home-based.

“We have been working with all our local early childhood providers to bring this program to our community,” explains CCEC Executive Director Sarah Romack. “The mission of the Chaffee County Early Childhood Council is to provide a collaborative system of affordable quality services. We exist to serve all children from prenatal to age eight — so their families have the support they need and the children can start school ready to learn.

When applying, all Colorado families will be able to see which preschools in their community are participating, and they can indicate their preferred preschool facility. Go to, for more information and to begin the application forms.

The UPK program was created by state statute under HB22-1295  The new Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is responsible for launching the voluntary preschool program eligible for Colorado children one year before they enter kindergarten.

For more information contact, or call 719-221-5114

For general information about the state-wide effort go to