About Early Education in DPS

Our Vision

In Denver Public Schools, young learners are engaged in comprehensive rigorous early education, creating the foundation necessary to be contributing members of the global community.

Our Mission

It is the mission of the DPS Early Education Department to ensure the delivery of an integrated, comprehensive, high quality early education in every classroom.

Our Core Beliefs

The Early Education Department is guided by the following core beliefs:

  • Young children need time to grow and develop through play and experience.
  • Supporting families in their roles as nurturers and first teachers leads to greater academic achievement for their children and more parental involvement in DPS and the community.
  • Rigorous early learning requires that instructional activities are planned with intention and classroom environments and experiences are designed to meet specific learning outcomes.
  • The building blocks of rigorous early learning programs include children’s development of cognitive processes, receptive and expressive language, fine and gross motor skills, positive behaviors and interactions, and self regulation. This creates the foundation of all learning.
  • The development of young learners requires that teachers in early learning programs continually differentiate instruction to support advancement of the developmental continuum.
  • Early learning standards link content and desired outcomes to specific ages or developmental periods.
  • A comprehensive, high quality early education continuum, birth through eight, closes the achievement gap.

Commitment To Community

In addition to staff actively involved in the early education community in the city, Denver Public Schools Early Education Department provides state funded preschool slots to about 22 community agencies around the city of Denver.

How We Are Funded


In addition to parent tuition, DPS uses several funding sources -local, state and federal – to provide free or significantly reduced price preschool to children in Denver. Denver Preschool Program, passed by Denver voters in 2006, provides tuition credits to 4 year-olds of any Denver resident interested in attending preschool. These credits can be used with any provider, public or private. DPS requires participation in Denver Preschool Program and the credits are already included in the price of tuition at DPS.

The state and federal government also provide significant funding for preschool in DPS. The Colorado Preschool Program provides funds for at-risk children to attend preschool. DPS runs several HeadStart and Early Reading First programs – federal programs targeted to help at-risk children – at select schools across the district.


The first half of the Kindergarten day is funded – just like higher grades – by the State of Colorado. Full-day Kindergarten is optional and DPS uses several funding sources, in addition to parent tuition, to provide free or significantly reduced price Kindergarten to children in Denver. A Mill Levy, passed by Denver voters in 2002, provides funding for at-risk classrooms. In an effort to fully fund Kindergarten for the entire school day, the State of Colorado provides funds for at-risk children as well.