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Preschool Special Education Services


The passage of HB22-1295 established the Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) and the Universal Preschool Program. This new statewide preschool program will launch July 1, 2023 at which time the Colorado Preschool Program will sunset. The Colorado Department of Education will continue to administer preschool special education in accordance with IDEA and ECEA for children ages three through five. Questions about implementing CPP during the 2022-23 school year, or ongoing implementation of IDEA requirements for preschoolers, should be directed to the CDE Preschool Special Education staff or Preschool Regional Specialists.

For information about CDEC preschool implementation effective on or after July 1, 2023, contact the CDEC.

About Preschool Special Education

Preschool special education is a state and federally mandated program for three and four year old children who are experiencing challenges in their learning and development and meet state eligibility criteria for special education and related services.

  • Eligible children are entitled to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. This is at no cost to the family.
  • Every school district, some through a local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), provides special education services to young children. Currently over 8000 children receive individualized special education services in preschool. (December 2021 data)
  • Services are provided through school-based programs, community early childhood settings and/or Head Start programs.

Referrals of children with a suspected delay in development can be made to the local Child Find team where the family and child live. Learn more about Child Find.

Colorado's State Reporting to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) related to Preschool