The Colorado Children’s Campaign developed a three-part process to engage people interested in providing input on how a statewide, universal preschool program might be designed. The process included a leadership committee, an advisory group, and community input sessions.
Preschool Policy Leadership Committee (PPLC): 31 governor-appointed members representing a range of interests and areas of the state. The PPLC led the development of preschool program design ideas for consideration by policymakers. Between July and December of 2020, the committee met seven times to engage in shared learning on key topics. The committee continues to meet regularly to explore program governance and funding.
Preschool Policy Advisory Group (PPAG): Open to anyone with an interest in informing the design of Colorado’s universal preschool program. The PPAG met seven times between August 2020 and February 2021, with an average of 180 people from a wide variety of organizations attending each meeting. In total, 246 participants attended at least one meeting or requested to be part of the group’s email list. This group engages in shared learning and provides input on the same key topics that the PPLC has discussed.
To include the voices of community members unable to participate in advisory group meetings, the Colorado Children’s Campaign created a Community Engagement Toolkit, which was used by over three dozen local groups to hold more than 50 engagement sessions between October 2020 and March 2021. Almost half of the state’s early childhood councils held input sessions. One third of these events were in rural parts of the state. Another third included statewide interests. The rest were held in Metro Denver or other urban areas of the state. Each session addressed: 1) participants’ hopes and fears for universal preschool in Colorado, 2) their goals for children in the year before kindergarten, 3) their definition of quality preschool, and 4) what they think will make an expansion of preschool successful.
Additional information about the Future of Preschool in Colorado Engagement Process can be found in our overview brief.