IL Practice Movement Building Public Policy
In Progress
Project Grant
Early Milestones Colorado
Jennifer Stedron, Executive Director, Early Milestones Colorado, [email protected]

This project will leverage Colorado’s recent expansion of full-day Kindergarten and pursuit of universal pre-kindergarten to make the case for ideal learning in publicly-funded settings to support all children. 

Context and Need

While many ideal learning programs exist outside of publicly-funded systems, these programs are often perceived as difficult or impossible to implement in a public school settings, making equitable access a challenge. Several conditions make Colorado fertile ground for the expansion of ideal learning in the public sector including: increased funding for early education; a lack of policy barriers in state education law; local control of implementation issues in the state’s school districts; and a strong existing presence of several ideal learning approaches (e.g. Montessori, Tools of the Mind, and EL Education). This combination of factors provides a strategic window of opportunity to equitably expand ideal learning pre-K and Kindergarten programs in the coming years.

Goals and Impact

Building on findings from their Ideal Learning in Colorado report, supported by a prior grant from the Trust, this project supports Early Milestones to build awareness and understanding of ideal learning programs’ potential to support high quality pre-k and kindergarten programs in Colorado public schools. The project makes the case for ideal learning through the dissemination of research and program examples, as well as documentation of the alignment of several ideal learning pre-K approaches with Colorado’s early learning and development guidelines. In addition, the project supports an Advisory Team of district and state early education stakeholders, as well as representatives of ideal learning models who will make recommendations regarding curriculum, instruction, teacher training, and other quality standards for the design of the state’s pending universal pre-K program.

Photo on previous page courtesy of Tools of the Mind.

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