Denver, CO

Denver invests $8.6 million in early childhood education

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver plans to pump $8.6 million Monday into early childhood education programs such as Head Start and the Boys and Girls Club. It also will pay for the schooling of early childhood educators who plan to work with immigrants, refugees, people of color or children with disabilities.

The City Council agenda lists several contracts. If approved, agencies hired to help get children off on the right foot would include:

· Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition supports early childhood educators and providers serving immigrant and refugee communities, communities of color and children with disabilities, $674,000.

The Coalition calls its educator training program PASO. The organization will put on six training institutes serving 20 educators per the contract. An American Rescue Plan Act grant will pay for the contract.

· Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Denver will serve 3,000 children, $80,000

· Head Start, Mile High Montessori Learning Centers, will help 321 children, $2.8 million

· Head Start and Early Head Start, Clayton Early Learning Center, will serve 224 children, $2.1 million

· Head Start, Catholic Charities, will help 239 children, $2.2 million

· Head Start, Family Star, Inc., will serve 54 children, $625,000

· Head Start, Volunteers of America Colorado Branch, will help 96 kids, $889,899.

Head Start free to low-income families

The website for Denver Head Start boasts about its success. "Denver Great Kids Head Start prepares preschoolers to enter kindergarten with the social, physical, emotional, cognitive skills and competencies necessary for continued school success."

Services are free for families meeting income guidelines. A family of two may not make more than $18,200. Head Start is for children ages 3 to 5 entering kindergarten.

A new program called Early Head Start is for children from newborn to 2. "New this fall, comprehensive child development programs, and support services will be available to pregnant moms, infants, toddlers and their families through our Early Head Start program," according to the website.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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