In late 2018, the Colorado Department of Human Services’ (CDHS’) Office of Early Childhood (OEC) received a $5.8 million Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
The grant, dubbed Colorado Shines Brighter, was launched to augment the state’s vision of ensuring that each and every child entering kindergarten has the tools necessary to succeed. This vision is achievable by accomplishing three outcomes:
- Families throughout Colorado are able to access quality prekindergarten learning opportunities regardless of their economic or social standing.
- Colorado children have their emotional, physical, social, and cognitive development enhanced and supported through positive early educational environments.
- The quality of resources available to families and caregivers is advanced by coordinating and aligning Colorado’s B–5 early childhood state system to improve relationship building efforts.
In partnership with Child Trends and Early Milestones Colorado, Marzano Research has supported the development of a B–5 state strategic plan. Under the guidance of Managing Senior Researcher Carrie Germeroth, Marzano Research has led the efforts to ensure that diverse family voices were incorporated into the strategic plan. These family engagement efforts included 12 focus groups with 120 parents representing diverse segments such as refugees and immigrants as well as teen parents. Furthermore, an additional 1,276 parents and caregivers responded to an online survey with questions related to access, quality, and equity in Colorado’s B–5 system of supports and services. The information provided by families around Colorado will inform the state’s B–5 strategic plan.
“Family voice was and is a critical component of Colorado’s PDG activities,” says Germeroth. “Our family engagement efforts capture the need for increased access and equity in Colorado’s B–5 system. It is exciting to think of the ways the state strategic plan will improve quality of care and services for all Colorado children and their families.”
The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood will submit the strategic plan to the Administration for Children and Families in December 2019. While the current PDG B–5 opportunity does not allow Colorado to create new early childhood programs and services, the state did apply for additional years of PDG B-5 funding to support the implementation of some of the activities outlined in the strategic plan.
In addition to working with the CDHS on the Colorado Shines Brighter grant, Marzano Research has also recently partnered with the department to update the Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines. These guidelines “describe the path of children’s learning and development from birth to eight years old. They’re designed so that everyone who cares for young children can play an important part in giving Colorado’s kids a healthy start. The Guidelines are based on research and bring together widely accepted strategies to help children develop successfully. As a result, the Guidelines are aligned with and help connect existing programs to create a coordinated approach to learning and development.”
You can download the complete Colorado Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines HERE. Meanwhile, If you’re looking for quality child care, or family service support, the Colorado Department of Human Services has resources available to all residents of the Centennial State. For more information on all available CDHS services, call 303.866.5700.