Universal Pre-K Creates Support Systems

Early Childhood Education, Legislation, Parent & Family Engagement | 03/31/2022

Natalie Perez
Stand Advocacy Fellow

On March 31, the Senate Education Committee passed HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program on a 5-2 vote. This bill takes several steps to address the existing challenges faced by families and providers, including strengthening Colorado’s early childhood infrastructure, developing a single application for families to access all publicly funded early education services, and better supporting our early childhood workforce. Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Natalie, delivered her testimony in support of the bill.

My name is Natalie Perez and I am a mother of an eight-year-old and an active leader in my community. I also work at Rocky Mountain Prep a school in southwest Denver. And I am here to ask you to vote yes for House Bill 1295. 

I am here today because education is important to me. My son started Pre-K when he was 4. I was a newly single mother traveling in the bus from Arvada to Denver so my son could have an education. Not just that but as someone with barely any support system I needed my son to be in school for me to work and provide for him. It was really difficult sometimes to make it work. Now working in a school, I see a lot of mothers of young children struggle the way I did.  

Creating a universal Pre-K program will not only help support single mothers but it will help parents living in poverty get their children into programs that will help create a strong support system. It not only will better the future of the child by giving them more time in the classroom learning things I couldn’t teach them at home, but also provides the parent time to work to better themselves and their own lives for the future.  

The only reason I was able to be here today in person in because of spring break. I currently have two jobs, one of them full time in a school, the other during the weekends as a caregiver. I am proud of where I am today and the opportunities I have been able to provide for my son, however as parents we don’t have time. Time to do extensive research and figure out what Pre-K programs are in our area or if we could even afford it. Because of this, please vote yes, so that parents like me can have one centralized place to look into what kind of future they’d like to provide for their children. 

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