Colorado Shines Brighter - Preschool Development Grant

  • Colorado's Statewide Birth through Five Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan

    In 2018, Colorado was awarded a $5.8 million initial Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) initial grant requiring the completion of a comprehensive, statewide birth through five Needs Assessment of the current landscape of the early care and education mixed-delivery system, which resulted in Colorado Shines Brighter: Opportunities for Colorado’s Early Childhood System

    To address the 12 key findings from the needs assessment, the Colorado Shines Brighter Strategic Plan includes opportunities to maximize the availability of high-quality early care and education options for low-income and underserved families across providers and partners; improve the quality of care; streamline administrative infrastructure; and improve state-level early care and education funding efficiencies.

    More than 6,000 Coloradans contributed to these efforts, including over 5,000 families and caregivers of children birth through age five. 

    We are excited to share the following reports with you. 


    View the February 2020 Webinar sharing key findings and activities to be completed under the PDG B-5 renewal. A list of PDG-funded strategies, timeline, and implementation partners can be viewed HERE.

    View the full list of activities from the initial grant period and access project reports HERE.
  • Attend a Meeting or Sign Up for the Newsletter

    Colorado Shines BRIGHTER! Newsletter

    Stay in touch and learn the latest PDG B-5 news. Sign up for the monthly newsletter HERE.


    Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) Program Quality and Alignment (PQA) Subcommittee

    The PQA Subcommittee serves as the advisory body for the Colorado's Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5). PQA Subcommittee meetings are used by the Office of Early Childhood to provide communication on the grant, provide members and the general public an the opportunity to provide feedback and share best practices on grant implementation. Visit the Program Quality & Alignment Subcommittee webpage for more information, including meeting agendas, minutes, and supporting documents.

    Upcoming Meetings:
    Friday, September 11, 2020
    9:00 am - 11:00 am

    Past Meetings
  • 2020 Project and Grant Opportunities

    Check back for more information. Questions regarding these opportunities? Contact us at cdhs_pdg@state.co.us.

    AVAILABLE NOW: Leadership Fellowship Pilot Program: Creating Trauma-Sensitive Early Care and Education Settings

    The Creating Trauma-Sensitive Early Care and Education Settings leadership series is designed to enhance early care and education directors' knowledge and application of trauma-informed care practices, develop peer networks, and connect center directors to local implementation partners and resources. Directors in the Denver Metro area are invited to apply for this new pilot program.

    Fellows will be required to attend a 4-hour kickoff meeting and weekly 2-hour seminar sessions from October through December. Sessions will be held during business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm). The leadership series will be conducted virtually and on-video attendance is required. Exact days and times will be determined by the trainer in coordination with the selected fellows.

    The application will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and will capture information about the director's child care center, current trauma-informed knowledge base and immediate goals. Applications completed by Wednesday, September 23, 2020 will be considered for participation. Up to 15 directors will be selected and notified of acceptance by Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Eligible counties include Denver, Broomfield, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Southwest Weld. Please contact Lisa Schlueter (lisa.schlueter@state.co.us) for more information.

    AVAILABLE NOW: Child Care Start-up and Expansion Micro Grants

    The Office of Early Childhood is partnering with Early Childhood Councils to administer Child Care Start-up and Expansion Micro Grants to prospective/new child care programs and existing child care programs across the state. The micro grants will assist with expenses related to becoming licensed for the first time or expanding an existing licensed child care program. Funds can be used to support licensing costs, training and professional development fees, purchasing early learning materials, acquiring technology, obtaining consultation from child care health consultants, receiving coaching to plan the project, and more. Due to funding restrictions, no capital projects will be funded through this opportunity. An emphasis will be placed on applicants opening new family child care homes and child care centers, the expansion of child care centers for the purpose of serving more infants/toddlers, and the creation of more child care slots in child care deserts. 

    AVAILABLE NOW: Child Development Associate (CDA) Scholarships 

    The Office of Early Childhood, in partnership with Red Rocks Community College and Mesa County Public Health, has released the application for Child Development Associate (CDA) Scholarships for new CDA candidates and renewal candidates. Funding will support training costs and assessment fees for approximately 220 new CDA candidates and assessment fees for approximately 70 candidates. Advisors will be available to help candidates find a training program that meets CDA requirements and assist with the creation of their portfolio for final assessment. Please contact Julia Brink (julia.brink@rrcc.edu) for more information.

    AVAILABLE NOW: Free Business Supports for Child Care Providers

    The Office of Early Childhood is partnering with the State's Office of Economic Development and International Trade to enhance the business acumen of licensed child care providers. This effort will promote business planning and sustainability to improve access to high-quality child care programs. The need for this type of support, while recognized previously, is especially critical given the additional pressures placed on child care businesses during the pandemic.

    This partnership will equip several Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to offer business training courses at no cost to licensed child care providers, including one track specifically for family child care homes and one track in Spanish. The training will be offered virtually to providers across the state, but may include content specific to the community in which the SBDC is housed. Training opportunities will be available in October 2020.

    In addition to the training, SBDC business experts will provide virtual, one-on-one consultation on business needs to licensed child care providers, centers and homes, at no cost. The focus of the consultation will be individualized to the provider’s needs, but may include things such as building a budget or seeking financial support.  Consultation is now available in English and Spanish. Click here to register for an appointment today!

    Closed: Inclusion and Universal Design in Child Care Programs

    The Inclusion and Universal Design Program is looking for creative licensed child care centers and family child care homes with a passion for inclusion and diversity! The goals of this program are to expand Colorado’s child care provider capacity and ensure children with a wide variety of delays and disabilities are included in these settings. In the first phase of this project, implemented by the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering through the University of Colorado Denver, 25 applicants will be offered training, technical assistance, and kits containing equipment and resources to support the development of inclusive learning environments. For more information, review the program description. Any licensed center or family child care home who is interested in applying should complete the application prior to August 16, 2020.
    NOTE: If we receive more than 25 applicants, we will prioritize providers serving underserved and vulnerable populations (i.e. accepting CCCAP) and community-based providers. Priority will also be given to ensure a variety of child care settings including homes and centers, and rural v. urban communities.

    • About Colorado Shines Brighter
      The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grants support states in their efforts to analyze the current landscape of their early childhood education mixed delivery system and implement changes to the system that maximize the availability of high-quality early childhood care and education options for low-income and disadvantaged families across providers and partners, improve the quality of care, streamline administrative infrastructure, and improve state-level early childhood care and education funding efficiencies.

      In December 2018, Colorado was awarded a $5.8 million initial PDG B-5 from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the US Department of Education. This funding was made available under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and is targeted to help states build a quality early learning system for children birth to 5 and their families. The initial PDG B-5 project period began December 31, 2018, and ended February 29, 2020. View Colorado's application and revised budget. View the full list of activities from the initial grant period and access project reports HERE.

      In December 2019, Colorado was awarded a PDG B-5 Renewal of $11,171,969 per year for three years (2020-2022). Renewal grant funds will be used to implement activities identified in the Colorado Shines Brighter Strategic Plan to maximize the number of high-quality early care and education options available to families, especially families identified as vulnerable and underserved such as those living in rural areas, families of infants and toddlers, and families of children with special needs. View Colorado's renewal application and revised budget. A summary of grant activities can be found HERE, and a timeline and list of implementation partners is available HERE.

      Colorado Shines Brighter is based on the state's shared vision to ensure all children are ready for school when entering kindergarten by achieving three outcomes:
      1. Colorado families have access to quality formal early childhood care and education settings of their choosing which best meet the need of their child and family, especially those who are vulnerable and infants and toddlers.
      2. Informal early childhood care and education environments (parental, friend, family, and neighbor care) are enhanced to enrich and support children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
      3. Colorado’s B-5 early childhood state system is coordinated and aligned to enhance the resources available to families and to improve the quality of relationships among families, caregivers, and children.

       

    • Frequently Asked Questions

      What is the difference between the Colorado Shines Brighter Statewide Strategic Plan and the PDG renewal grant activities?
      The responsibility of caring for Colorado’s youngest children is shared between parents, caregivers, early childhood professionals, program administrators, policymakers, advocates and other stakeholders across public and private organizations and agencies at the state and local levels. The Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan, 2020-2025 was developed in partnership with these stakeholders to support aligned and coordinated efforts to ensure all children are valued, healthy and thriving. The strategic plan is endorsed by the Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) as the statewide birth through five systems strategic plan. Progress made on the strategic plan will be tracked and communicated by the ECLC.

      The PDG Renewal provides federal funding of up to $11,171,969 per year for three years (2020-2022). The funds will be used to implement activities identified in the strategic plan to maximize the number of high-quality early care and education options available to families, especially families identified as vulnerable and underserved such as those living in rural areas, families of infants and toddlers, and families of children with special needs. 

      How will progress on the PDG Renewal be communicated to the public?
      View outcomes from the initial PDG B-5 here.

      You can track the progress made on the PDG Renewal the following ways:

      • Sign up for the monthly Colorado Shines Brighter newsletter.
      • Attend Early Childhood Leadership Commission Program Quality and Alignment (PQA) Subcommittee meetings. PQA Subcommittee meetings are used by the OEC to provide communication on the grant, provide members and the general public an the opportunity to provide feedback and share best practices on grant implementation. Visit the PQA Subcommittee web page for more information, including meeting agendas, minutes, and supporting documents. 

      What does it mean for a child to be ready for school when entering kindergarten?
      School readiness describes both the preparedness of a child to engage in and benefit from learning experiences, and the ability of a school to meet the learning needs of all students. School readiness is enhanced when schools, families, and community service providers work collaboratively to ensure that support exists for higher levels of learning for every child. Colorado embraces the philosophy of “Ready child, ready family, ready community, ready school.”

      What does mixed delivery system mean in the context of the PDG?
      A mixed delivery system is a system of early childhood care and education services that are delivered through a combination of programs, providers, and settings, such as Head Start, licensed family and center-based child care programs, public schools, and other community-based organizations, that is supported by a combination of public and private funds.”
       
      What is the goal for alignment and how will you measure success?
      The PDG B-5 asked states to develop a statewide strategic plan that, among other requirements, “Recommend[s] partnership, collaboration, coordination, and quality improvement activities and opportunities that can leverage existing resources to improve coordination, policy alignment, program quality and service delivery, across early childhood care and education programs in the B-5 Early Childhood State System, including activities to improve children's transition from early childhood care and education programs into elementary schools.”

      The Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan identifies six goals including Goal 1: Colorado’s birth through five early childhood system is coordinated and aligned to enhance resources available to families and to improve the quality of relationships between families and providers. Success will be measured by the extent to which state and local systems partners align and coordinate their services. More detail may be found in the Strategic Plan.

      What enhancements will be made to Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)?
      The Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan identifies several strategies to explore and enhance the state's QRIS framework, policies and provider supports including:
      • 4.1.3 Local Impact Study. Study local Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) and Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) policies for the impact on ECE providers and families, including how new reimbursement rate policies have impacted family participation and access to high-quality ECE programs, and implement indicated changes.
      • 6.1.1 Colorado Shines Updates. Continue to retool the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for the Environmental Rating Scale 3 (ERS 3) and implement other tools. Support more ratings, including alternative pathways, through an increase in rating assessors. Incorporate stakeholder workgroup findings into the QRIS Framework, including an increased emphasis on cultural and linguistic responsiveness. Complete a validation study in 2022.
      • 6.1.2 Consultative Roles Alignment. Review key consultative roles, including Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care (EQIT) Specialist Network, ECMH Consultants, Colorado Shines QRIS Coaches, and Child Care Health Consultants, to ensure coordination and collaboration between roles. Identify qualifications and ongoing professional development supports to ensure individuals are equipped to support quality practices within licensed ECE programs.
      • 6.2.3 Coaching. Pilot a state ECE coaching model including Colorado Shines QRIS and EQIT. Increase staff to meet the needs of known coaching deserts and provide additional meetings and formal supports for coaches. Update courses, transcreate coaching materials, and explore a telehealth approach to coaching. 


      The PDG references quality improvement for licensed and license-exempt care; how will license-exempt care be included in the activities?
      The PDG B-5 emphasizes family choice in the state's mixed-delivery system. The Colorado Shines Brighter: Opportunities for Colorado’s Early Childhood System (Full Report) increased our understanding of families' early care and education preferences. As a result of these findings, the Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan includes strategies to improve the quality two settings:

      • Formal Early Care and Education Environments: Early care and learning settings licensed by the state for the primary purpose of providing regular child care. These include preschools, centers, and homes.
      • Informal Early Care and Education Environments: Care provided in the child or caregiver’s home by a person who is a relative, friend, neighbor, babysitter, or nanny. These settings operate within state guidelines, which allow them to be exempt from regulations. May also be referred   to as Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) care.

      Many of the strategies supporting informal early care and education environments are identified in the Colorado Shines Brighter Birth through Five Strategic Plan under Goal 3 Maximize Family Knowledge and Engagement: Children and families that enter the system through one program are offered meaningful and relevant services throughout the system.

      What is the ROOTs Early Childhood Mental Health Training Program?
      The OEC contracted with Dr. Sarah Watamura to provide Roots events as well as Branches and Seedlings certification opportunities. Dr. Watamura is the co-director of the Stress Early Experience & Development Research Center, associate professor and chair in the Department of Psychology at the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Denver. In 2019, Dr. Watamura and her team provided training in the Roots curriculum (an intensive, experiential trauma processing and stress reduction workshop) to ECMHC professionals across Colorado. These participants are now eligible for certification as Branches or Seedling trainers. Certified trainers are able to deliver trauma and stress reduction programs for early care and education teachers (Branches) and parents (Seedlings). The knowledge and skills provided within these trainings will equip ECMHC professionals with tools necessary to partner successfully with child care providers and community members on trauma, adversity and resilience.


      What are the commonly used acronyms involved the PDG work? 
      •    CCCAP – Colorado Child Care Assistance Program
      •    CCR&R – Child Care Resource and Referral
      •    CDE – Colorado Department of Education
      •    CDHS – Colorado Department of Human Services
      •    CHP+ – Child Health Plan Plus
      •    ECC – Early Childhood Councils
      •    ECE – Early Childhood Education
      •    ECLC – Early Childhood Leadership Commission
      •    ECMH– Early Childhood Mental Health 
      •    ECPD – Early Childhood Professional Development Advisory Work Group 
      •    ELDG – Early Learning & Development Guidelines
      •    ERS – Environmental Ratings Scale
      •    FCCH – Family Child Care Homes
      •    FCCRS – Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale
      •    FFN – Family, Friend and Neighbor care
      •    FRC – Family Resource Centers
      •    LAUNCH – Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health
      •    MIECHV – Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting
      •    OEC – Office of Early Childhood
      •    PDG – Preschool Development Grant
      •    PDIS –  Professional Development Information System
      •    PQA – Program, Quality & Alignment Subcommittee
      •    QRIS – Quality Rating and Improvement System
      •    RFA – Request for Application
      •    RFP – Request for Proposal

    Questions? Contact the Preschool Development Grant Unit:

    Office of Early Childhood, CDHS
    1575 Sherman Street, 1st Floor
    Denver, CO 80203
    Phone: 1-800-799-5876 or 303-866-5948
    cdhs_pdg@state.co.us 
    Sign up for the Colorado Shines Brighter newsletter.

     

    The project described is supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0054-01-00, 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.