A plan to help all Colorado children be ready to succeed in school and in life

Colorado has made great strides in its early childhood mixed-delivery system. However, more is needed to provide children and families equitable access to high-quality services. Through preschool development grant federal funding managed by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, Early Milestones partnered with Child Trends and Marzano Research to create Colorado’s five-year strategic plan for children birth through age five and their families.

With guidance from the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, input from families and service providers and findings from the Colorado Shines Brighter Needs Assessment informed Colorado’s strategic plan. Colorado’s plan builds upon current activities and addresses the needs of families, communities, and the state’s early childhood system.

Plan goals

The Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan is organized around six interconnected goals.

  • Align & Coordinate Systems: Enhance resources to families and improve the quality of relationships between families and providers through better coordination and alignment.
  • Innovate Service Delivery: Early care and education (ECE) providers practice trauma-informed care and inclusive practices.
  • Maximize Family Knowledge & Engagement: Children and families have meaningful and relevant services throughout the system.
  • Increase Meaningful & Equitable Access: ECE program supply matches demand for ages served, specialized supports, and program type and location.
  • Strengthen Business Practices: The mixed-delivery system has sustainable business models.
  • Improve the Quality of ECE Environments & the Workforce: High-quality programs have a qualified and diverse workforce. Informal providers and families have access to training and resources that support optimal child development.

Additional Resources

Needs Assessment

Colorado completed a statewide needs assessment of the current early care and education mixed-delivery system, Colorado Shines Brighter: Opportunities for Colorado’s Early Childhood System.

Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five

In December 2019, Colorado was awarded a three-year federal grant to implement activities in the Colorado Shines Brighter Strategic Plan. Implementation will maximize the number of high-quality early care and education options available to families, especially families identified as underserved such as those living in rural areas, and families of infants and toddlers and children with special needs.


This project was supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0009-01-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Colorado Shines Brighter
  • Child Trends
  • Marzano Research