Reef Buchanen-Pendleton listens to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” during his group’s “relaxation time” on Feb. 13, 2023, at New Horizons Co-Op Preschool in Boulder. New Horizons, founded in 1968, utilizes a bilingual preschool program for up to 16 children at a time. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

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It will be another month before Colorado families know where they can send their children for preschool under the state’s new universal preschool program.

Families were supposed to learn which programs they had matched with on Thursday. But on Tuesday, officials with Colorado’s Department of Early Childhood announced they plan to tell families on April 26. 

As reported by Chalkbeat, more than 20 education and early childhood groups had asked the state to push back initial matches due to problems with the algorithm that meant some families might miss out on top choices and other families might be offered seats that didn’t meet their needs. They feared the program was being rushed, and families would end up frustrated.

State officials held firm to the initial March 30 matching date until just two days prior. Denver Public Schools even sent an email to parents Tuesday afternoon telling families to watch their texts and emails for state notifications this Thursday.

Tuesday evening, state officials said in a news release that to “maximize the likelihood of families receiving their first or second choice, allow for additional time that will enable providers to fully consider their capabilities to expand their offerings in the coming school year, and give families the opportunity to fine-tune their preferences, the department is extending the release of the first round of matching until April 26, 2023.”  

More than 29,000 families have signed up for a 4-year-old preschool spot, and more than 1,800 providers are participating, according to the Department of Early Childhood.


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Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat

Bureau Chief — Chalkbeat Colorado Email: