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Colorado early care and learning programs show strong quality improvement

posted Mar 28, 2017, 4:26 PM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS   [ updated Mar 28, 2017, 4:30 PM ]
DENVER (March 28, 2017) – Child care programs across Colorado have posted significant increases in quality, as measured by Colorado Shines, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early care and learning programs.

Colorado Shines rates child care programs on a scale of 1-5 and works with them to improve the quality of care they provide.

At the start of 2016, only two child care programs in the state had achieved a rating of Level 5 – the highest possible quality rating – but by February 2017 the number jumped to 32. (See a list of all Level 5 programs at the end of this release.)

In addition:
  • Level 2 programs more than doubled from 501 at the beginning of 2016 to 1,070 today.
  • Level 4 programs grew from 364 to 437.
The early years are a critical period for a child’s learning as it is a time of intense brain development. Decades of research shows that children who attend quality early learning programs are more likely to do well in school and less likely to drop out or need remedial education.

“During the first few years of life between 700 and 1,000 new neural connections form every second -- a rate unmatched at any other point in development,” said Mary Anne Snyder, director of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Early Childhood. “That’s why the quality of care a child receives during the early years is so vitally important to their development.”

The online search tool at connects families with quality-rated programs in their community. Colorado Shines is a free service for families, programs and early childhood professionals.

By participating in Colorado Shines, early learning programs demonstrate their commitment to quality and continual improvement. Licensed child care programs are automatically rated Level 1 and then can increase their quality rating through a process that includes training for staff:
  • Level 1: The program is licensed by the State of Colorado and meets basic health and safety standards.
  • Level 2: The program meets the requirements of Level 1 and is taking specific steps to improve its quality.
  • Level 3-5: The program has completed an intensive process to demonstrate quality in the following areas:
    • Support for children’s health and safety
    • Well-trained and effective staff
    • Supportive learning environment that teaches children new skills
    • Helping families to become partners in their child’s learning
    • Strong leadership and business practices
These 10 counties increased the overall number of quality-rated programs: Alamosa, Boulder, Costilla, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Larimer, Mineral, Rio Grande, Routt and Saguache.

The following programs have achieved Level 5, the highest quality rating:
  • Charlotte Phelps, Adams County
  • Tamela Hayshi, Adams County
  • The Academy Pre-K, Adams County
  • Aurora Frontier K8, Arapahoe County
  • St. James Preschool, Arapahoe County
  • Summer Valley City of Aurora Preschool, Arapahoe County
  • Aspen Center for Child Development, Boulder County
  • Ball Swan Children’s Center Preschool, Broomfield County
  • Katherine Apjoke, Broomfield County
  • Anella Stasica, Denver County
  • Bromwell Elementary, Denver County
  • Bryant Webster School, Denver County
  • Early Excellence Program of Denver Inc., Denver County
  • Farrell B. Howell School, Denver County
  • Godsman Elementary, Denver County
  • Goldrick Elementary School, Denver County
  • Holm Elementary School, Denver County
  • Maxwell Elementary School, Denver County
  • Pamela Powers, Denver County
  • Samuels Elementary School, Denver County
  • Southmoor Elementary School, Denver County
  • Traylor Fundamental Academy, Denver County
  • Guadalupe Hastings, El Paso County
  • Rebecca Fuller, Garfield County
  • Stephanie Northrup, Garfield County
  • Fraser Valley Elementary Preschool, Grand County
  • Golden Recreation Preschool, Jefferson County
  • Teaching Tree, Larimer County
  • Winona Early Childhood, Larimer County
  • Little Lambs, Trinity Early Learning Center, Morgan County
  • Weldon Valley Preschool, Morgan County
  • Bullpup Preschool, Phillips County
Nicole Grabowski - CDHS,
Mar 28, 2017, 4:26 PM