Changes to ECE SchoolChoice

Along with other Colorado school districts, DPS is working with the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) to continue expanding its Early Childhood Education program by rolling out a new enrollment process for Universal Preschool Colorado (UPK).

About Preschool

Denver Public Schools offers preschool programs for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. Children must be 4-years-old on or before Oct. 1 of the year of enrollment to be eligible. Children must be 3-years-old on or before Oct. 1 of the year of enrollment to be eligible.


The philosophy of the Early Education Department is to create an integrated and comprehensive system of diverse, high quality early childhood education and care services. This system of services will enhance the development of young children so they succeed throughout their academic career; support families in their role as nurturers and first teachers; and meet the needs and financial abilities of Denver’s working parents.


The Early Childhood Education Program goals include:

  • Providing a broad range of developmentally appropriate educational experiences for preschool children that support emergent literacy skills and future school success

  • Actively involving parents in the education of their children both at home and at school and

  • Supporting children’s emerging sense of self in an environment that promotes the development of confidence and competence and fosters skills for healthy social interactions.

Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is a critical component of Early Childhood Education. A child can get the most from her educational experience when teachers and parents work together to support the child as a team. Parents are encouraged to be active partners in the Early Childhood Education experience. Please see our tips for parents. Denver Public Schools provides a variety of parent involvement opportunities to meet the needs of families and to offer parents a broad spectrum of experiences in the educational environment. The program is designed to include:

  • Parent meetings

  • Telephone contacts

  • Parent volunteer experiences

  • Classroom visitation opportunities

  • Parent/teacher conferences

  • Parent visits

Parent meetings are an important way to bring parents into their child’s education. Families and teachers come together to stimulate parental interactions and discuss parents’ roles in their child’s education.

Early Access Addendum

In 2023 the Denver Public Schools (DPS) adopted an Early Access Addendum that was approved by the Colorado Department of Education. In DPS, students can attend kindergarten if they turn five (5) by October 1. The DPS Early Access Addendum creates a policy and procedure to admit students to kindergarten and first grade early (age 4 by October 1 for kindergarten and age 5 by October 1 for first) if they qualify under the mandates in the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA). This process is not for typical students who miss the October 1st entrance date. Relatively few students qualify for this status each year. 

The DPS Early Access Family Handbook will provide you with information about the qualifications for Early Access, readiness for kindergarten, and the process that needs to be followed to apply. For more information please visit our website.