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, Jesse, delivered her testimony in support of the bill.
My name is Jesse Rula and I am a DPS employee for the Career and College Success Department. I am also the mother to 3 sons who were all fortunate enough to attend preschool for free. I know personally how important preschool is for children and their early childhood development. My middle child has a significant learning disability and struggles socially and emotionally.
We were concerned about how he would adjust when entering school but were able to get him into the Head Start Program. We were fortunate enough to have him attend 2 yrs in a row and I am so grateful for that experience. My son was able to learn all the things he needed to enter kindergarten and be successful. Despite being very shy and struggling in social settings the staff took such a patient and caring approach to getting him used to the classroom and socializing with his peers.
While I appreciate all the other academic things he learned such as his colors, numbers, and letters it was so much more than that. He learned how to navigate his classroom, how to advocate for himself, and how to socialize with his peers. It made the transition into kindergarten so much easier. So many families are in need of this kind of exposure and education for their children. So many could benefit from being able to access pre-k and start their child off on the right path.
Being able to have a streamlined approach to accessing quality preschools that are affordable, is so crucial for all families with young children. This is especially true for families that are struggling just to put food on the table. Families who can’t afford to put their child in an expensive preschool and don’t have the time to try to navigate a complicated and confusing system to access preschool.
All children have the right to start off life with the best chance possible. Research has shown how important preschool is for giving children a strong foundation in school and setting them up for future success. It had such a positive effect on my son and I want all families to experience that. Not only does it benefit these families but it benefits society as a whole. Getting children set up for success early on is one of the best ways to ensure future success, which benefits us all. I respectfully ask for your ‘yes’ vote on House Bill 22-1295.