News Bites – Fall, 2019

Happy Holidays

The DPP team – Elsa, Ellen, Marina, Chris, Tricia and Michelle – would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support of the Denver Preschool Program. As this busy year winds to a close, we’re wishing you and your loved ones a warm and safe holiday season and a successful new year. Happy holidays!

Celebrating Twelve Years of Building Solid Foundations for Denver Children

We wanted to take a moment to reflect upon our 12 years of helping make quality preschool possible for the children of our city. We are grateful to the citizens of Denver for understanding the critical importance of early childhood education and supporting our vision of having every child in Denver enter kindergarten ready to reach their full potential. We’re proud to share that through the 2018-2019 school year, DPP has provided over $121.5 million to 55,113 students, and have invested nearly $19 million in preschool quality improvement.

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DPP Provides More Support Than Ever Before to Families in Greatest Need

As DPP transitions into our thirteenth school year, we are pushing the limits to deepen our impact in the community with the launch of the three-year Gap Scholarship pilot. The program was created to better support Denver’s lowest-income families. Specifically, the scholarship is designed for families living at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line and is intended to ensure that these families spend no more than 12 percent of their income on preschool tuition.

Currently, Colorado families spend an average of 20 percent of their income on preschool tuition. Given the fact that the cost of living in Denver is higher than many other places in our state and many of the families we serve are in lower-income brackets, DPP families in community-based preschools often spend closer to 39 percent of their income on preschool tuition.

In the short time since the Gap Scholarship program launched, 30 children have already benefitted from the scholarship funding, significantly lessening their families’ financial burden related to preschool. Approximately half of these children are from Denver’s refugee communities.

Currently, approximately 20 DPP providers have signed up to participate in the pilot program, thereby making Gap Scholarships accessible for their families. We continue to encourage additional providers to sign up. The goal is to provide this heightened level of support to 250 children and their families annually over the next three years.

To be eligible for a Gap Scholarship, families must be enrolled at a participating provider, complete the Gap Scholarship Agreement and be willing to participate in the evaluation of the pilot program. To learn more, please email us at info@dpp.org

DPP Partner Spotlight: Denver Public Library

Since DPP’s inception, we have been proud to partner with the Denver Public Library (DPL) on community outreach and education initiatives. That partnership has grown and evolved over time to encompass a variety of programs.

The newest of those programs, Books Around Town, launched in October. Through Books Around Town, DPP and DPL’s Early Learning Department seek to address the issue of “book deserts” by distributing crates of children’s books to 21 locations in underserved communities across Denver, including human services agencies, rec centers and family resource centers. These books include DPP branding and information on how to find a preschool and sign up for tuition support through DPP, with the goal of increasing access to high-quality books for children and making connections with families and caregivers.

DPP is also honored to partner with DPL on its Little University program. Designed to reach families who may not be enrolled in a formal preschool program, Little University classes are available at six DPL branch locations across the city. The program consists of weekly 25-minute sessions for children ages 0-5 and their families and caregivers. A portion of each session is dedicated to early learning activities beyond those found during more traditional story times. The remaining time is designed to encourage families and caregivers to be their children’s first teachers – and to show them simple and effective ways to do that.

We understand that partnering with organizations and resources that families trust is one of the best ways that we can connect with families in harder-to-reach communities. Libraries are a prime example of this type of trusted resource, and we are extremely proud of and grateful for our long-time partnership with DPL.

DPP’s Preschool Forum Off to an Exciting Start

DPP’s annual preschool Forum was created to show our deep appreciation for our DPP providers and our commitment to supporting our schools in continuous quality improvement. The Forum allows preschool directors, teachers and administrators to earn professional development hours while spending time learning from and engaging with their colleagues in the early childhood education field.

This year’s Forum (our 5th annual) is presented by Conscious Discipline®, a leader in classroom management that provides a transformational, whole-school solution for social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation. The Forum’s five-part series is designed to equip educators with tools to integrate these elements into the classroom so they can spend less time monitoring behavior and more time teaching vital life skills.

Our first session, which took place on Saturday, Nov. 9, saw over 200 attendees – making it one of our best-attended Forum sessions ever. We are excited to continue this momentum with our additional sessions:

  • Saturday, Dec. 7: Brain Smart Start; Power of Attention and Skill of Assertiveness
  • Saturday, Feb. 1: Power of Unity and the Skill of Encouragement
  • Saturday, April 4/Saturday, April 11: Power of Free Will/Skill of Choices; Power of Acceptance/Skill of Empathy
  • BONUS SESSION on Saturday, May 2: Skill of Positive Intent and the Skill of Consequences (Putting it All Together)

Providers may still register for any or all of the remaining sessions, regardless of whether or not they attended the first one. Find out more at dpp.org/news-forum.

Mark Your Calendars: The 8th Annual Preschool Showcase

If you have a child approaching preschool age, please join us for our premier event: the 8th Annual Preschool Showcase on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Denver Zoo – 2300 Steele St., Denver, CO 80205.
 
DPP’s Preschool Showcase offers families and caregivers the convenient opportunity to meet and ask questions of preschool staff and directors from dozens of local preschools all in one location. Learn how DPP can help lower your monthly tuition payments as well – regardless of your income. Fun, family-friendly activities – including photos ops with the Minions – will be available, as well as entry to the Denver Zoo. Please mark your calendars and join us for this free event!
 
Learn more at dpp.org/showcase.

One Book Colorado Finalists

To instill a love of learning, One Book Colorado, A Book For Every 4-Year-Old (OBCO), provides every 4-year-old in the state with a new book each year. The program is now in its ninth year.

The three finalists for the 2020 OBCO book are:

  • The Greatest Adventure by Tony Piedrea
  • The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, pictures by Sonia Sanchez
  • The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

Copies of the selected book will be gifted in the spring to 4-year-olds through state public and military libraries and DPP classrooms. If you would like to claim a copy of the book for your child next year, see giveaway locations on OBCO’s pickup locations page. We are honored to partner in this incredible early education venture with The Denver Channel (KMGH-Ch. 7), the Colorado State Library, Serve Colorado, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and Mile High United Way.