The Early Childhood Council of Boulder County (ECCBC) is excited to be Boulder County’s Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) to support families and child care providers through the UPK process. Universal Preschool offers voluntary preschool to every child the year before they are eligible for kindergarten. Families can choose the right setting for their child to attend Universal Preschool, whether it is in licensed community-based, school-based or home based preschool setting.


What is an LCO?

Local Coordinating Organizations (LCOs) will be responsible for the coordination of Universal Preschool at the local level – this includes supporting families in navigating enrollment, tracking and reporting on seat availability in preschools, communicating with and supporting providers, and ensuring the smooth rollout of at least fifteen hours of free voluntary preschool for every child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten. In time, CDEC will work with LCOs to broaden their areas of coordination, building a cohesive system among all early childhood service providers in their catchment area.

Is my child eligible for Universal Preschool?

Children in Colorado can register for up to 15 hours per week of free, high-quality preschool in their year before kindergarten through Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program, also known as Universal Pre-K (UPK). If your child is four years old before October 1, 2024, they are eligible for UPK in Boulder County.

What are the Qualifying Factors to receive 15+ UPK hours?

  • Families may qualify for more free hours based on a number of qualifying factors, per available funding, described further on page 8 and 9  of the UPK 2024-2025 Family Handbook.
    • Household “low income” <270% Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL) and one (1) additional qualifying factor.
      • Unhoused
      • Multiligual
      • Foster/Kinship Care
      • Household “in poverty” <100 FPL
      • Eligible for Special Education with an IEP
  • Families will need to provide proof of income with your application if you are applying for additional hours. You can upload the documents in the application. For information on what documents are accepted, please visit the state’s FAQs here.
  • Depending on the provider, families have the option of paying for additional hours if desired.

My child is 3 years old

My child is 3 years old and I want them to attend preschool, do they get UPK funding?

  • Three-year-old funding comes from another source and very targeted.  This school year, school districts will resume primary registration for 3-year-olds through their targeted 3-year-old program. If your child is more than one year away from being eligible for kindergarten, please reach out to your school district for potential preschool services.
  • Licensed child care providers offer preschool for ages 3-5, to search for a provider near you visit Colorado Shines.

My Child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) should I apply for UPK?

  • Yes, complete an application for your child if they are eligible for UPK.
  • Children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) must be served by the school district.
  • Throughout the enrollment process and school year, children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) would be supported through direct application, registration, and enrollment through their Administrative Unit (AU).

Visit the UPK website family page for more information.

How can you apply for UPK?

  • Families can visit UPK.Colorado.gov to complete an application.  Be sure to review the Family Handbook for a step by step process and frequently asked questions.

Colorado Universal Preschool honors a mixed delivery system.

  • A mixed delivery model allows parents to choose among different program types (i.e., centers, homes, preschool – private and public) and select one that best meets their needs.
  • Children can participate in a program that meets their development and learning style.

Find the right child care provider for your child, click here to find those participating in Universal Preschool.

What is the timeline for families to apply and be matched to a school?

  • 2024-2025 Enrollment Process
    • CDEC developed an improved Colorado Universal Preschool enrollment process for school year 2024-25. The streamlined process has been developed to reduce matching delays, lessen providers’ administrative burden, and increase equitable family access to funding for high-quality preschool programming available throughout Colorado. The following provides a general overview of the new process.
    • Family Matching (April 22, 2024 – July 30, 2024)
      • April 20 – Families who have registered and applied for UPK by April 20, 2024, will be eligible for this initial round of matching.
      • April 22: First family-to- provider matching round runs.
      • April 23 - May 7: Providers accept matches for the first matching round.
      • May 8: Families notified of first round matches. Families must accept or decline by May 15.
      • July 5: Second family-to-provider matching round runs. Providers must accept or decline matches by July 22.
      • July 23: Families notified of second round matches. Families must accept or decline by July 30.
    • Direct Enrollment (estimated late summer)
      • Closer to the start of the school year, families who have yet to enroll would work directly with a provider of choice to enroll as space allows. Similar to the pre-registration process, families would be able to submit an application and directly enroll with the provider. CDEC would continue to work with providers to find ways to ensure families complete the universal preschool application during this phase so that providers secure funding for these families.
    • IEP Direct Placement (February 29, 2024 through the end of the 2024–25 school year)
      • Special Education Administrative Units (AUs) and school districts will request placement of students in accordance with their IEPs. Providers will accept matches within 2 weeks of receiving a match; families will have until the start of the school year to accept matches.

    Additional Information & Contact information

    For participating childcare providers:

    The Colorado Department of Early Childhood has a dedicated webpage for participating child care providers.

    UPK participating providers' additional resources:

    UPK newsletter:

    This newsletter is for participating UPK child care providers and community members who support children and families impacted by UPK. The newsletter contains timely UPK information.

    Participating providers can view our previous Newsletters below:

    Click here to subscribe and receive future UPK Newsletters.

    UPK Provider Meetings Updates:

    Monthly Provider/LCO discussion with participating UPK child care providers. Providers can anticipate receiving timely Colorado Department of Early Childhood information and ask questions. These are held monthly, once in person and the other via Zoom. For more information email UPK@eccbouldercounty.org.

    Previous meeting update slide decks can be viewed below:

    Questions about UPK?

    As your Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) we are dedicated to partnering with families, providers and the community through the UPK process to ensure children have access to quality care that meets their family’s needs. We want to collect any questions or concerns you may have about UPK, and you can submit those here or send an email to UPK@eccbouldercounty.org.

    You may also sign up here for a 1 on 1 information meeting with our UPK Director! If the times provided do not work for you, email shannahbennet@eccbouldercounty.org for scheduling.