Early Childhood Education

Group of ECE students playing with a wagon on the playground

Preschool, also called Early Childhood Education or ECE, helps young children develop mentally, socially and emotionally. The DPS Early Education program provides quality half- and full-day preschool at more than 80 DPS schools. DPS preschool programs are designed to serve all students, including students with disabilities.

How to Apply for ECE

We strongly encourage families to submit their application for the 2024-25 school year during Round 1 of DPS SchoolChoice. Submitting an application during Round 1 offers families the best chance of obtaining a seat at their desired preschool program. Round 1 opens at 10 a.m. on Jan. 11 and closes at 4 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2024.

Students who turn 3 years old on or before Oct. 1 will need to apply for ECE-3. Students who turn 4 years old on or before Oct. 1 will need to apply for ECE-4. Due to limited space, enrollment is not guaranteed.

Applying for ECE-3 or ECE-4?

  1. Visit schoolchoice.dpsk12.org to complete a DPS SchoolChoice application during Round 1. 

  2. Following Round 1, DPS will reach out to families to provide the next steps for completing an application for funding support through Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado.

     

All ECE-3 and ECE-4 families will need to participate in DPS SchoolChoice to be matched with their preferred school for the 2024-25 school year.

If you missed Round 1, more information regarding the ECE application process during Round 2 will be available soon. The Round 2 application window opens on April 10 at 10 a.m.

What is Universal Preschool Colorado (UPK)?

Every school district in Colorado, including DPS, is working with the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) to continue expanding its Early Childhood Education with an enrollment process for Universal Preschool Colorado, also known as UPK.

UPK ensures that every child, in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten, is eligible for half-day, state-funded, voluntary preschool. 3-year-olds with qualifying factors may be eligible for at least part-time (10 hours-per-week) preschool programming. 4-year-olds with qualifying factors may be eligible for additional hours of tuition-free preschool.

Following your DPS SchoolChoice application submitted during Round 1, DPS will reach out to families to provide the next steps for completing an application for funding support through UPK. If you missed Round 1, more information regarding the ECE application process during Round 2 will be available soon. The Round 2 application window opens on April 10 at 10 a.m.

ECE student wearing a hat and smiling

ECE students sitting on ground together laughing

Cost

Preschool is a tuition-based program. Tuition is determined on a sliding fee scale by the family household size and gross income and ranges from free to out-of-district cost.

UPK ensures that every child, in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten, is eligible for half-day (minimum 15 hours per week) state-funded, voluntary preschool, provided they complete the UPK application.

3-year-olds with qualifying factors may be eligible for at least part-time (10 hours-per-week) preschool programming. 4-year-olds with qualifying factors may be eligible for additional hours of tuition-free preschool. After SchoolChoice Round 1, DPS will reach out to families that submitted their application to provide the next steps for completing an application for funding support through UPK.

Tuition rates are subject to change.

Enrollment Guides

The DPS Enrollment Guides are a great resource for families to find the best school for their students! To request a translated version of part or all of this guide at no cost, please call our family helpline at 720-423-3054 or email translations@dpsk12.org with the language and sections needed. You can also view the enrollment zone guides and School Finder for detailed information about each DPS school.

Our Enrollment Information Packets are a shortened version of the Enrollment Guide, focusing less on each school and more on the SchoolChoice application process itself. These packets are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Somali, Amharic, Nepali, French and Mandarin. Email communications@dpsk12.org with questions.

Additional Information

Questions about SchoolChoice? Call 720-423-3493 or email SchoolChoice@dpsk12.org. (Hotline hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Questions about UPK? Call 303-866-5223 or email cdec_upkcolorado@state.co.us.