Free preschool spots going fast

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO)_School District 51 is working to place youngsters in preschools across the Grand Valley. But with a growing need for the free service many kids may not get in.

Try as she may, a giant dry erase board is the only way for Kim Self to organize the district's preschool programs. With classes in high demand parents started applying months ago, "And after you complete the application turn it back in and we will score it and if they are eligible we will contact you," says Self.

The Early Childhood Education Coordinator says they have about 500 open spots, all of which will be filled. But it's not on a first-come first-serve basis.

Self says, "Based on the children who are most at risk we serve them first. Everyone else gets put on a waiting list.”

Self says she expects there will be a waiting list of around 200 kids this year, that’s about what she saw last year too. "And that is probably the hardest part of our job here at the Hawthorne Building is to tell parents that they are on a waiting list," says Self.

The only other program available for parents who can't afford to pay for preschool is Rocky Mountain Head Start.

Lori Weber with Head Start says, "We're getting more people coming in this year than last year we are kinda concerned about the numbers, you know a lot of families moving out but we are getting our full capacity, full enrollment."

Head Start also enrolls children based on need and risk factors first but they do hold some other spots. "We do also have a certain percentage of people out there that we take that are over income as well," says Weber.

Self says the best way to get your preschooler enrolled in a class is fill out your application fully and don't get discouraged if you get put on the list. "Some people usually won't show up the first day or there's, you know, they move at the last minute so we are always constantly putting people in," says Self.

For more information on District 51's preschool program stop by 410 Hill Ave. and pick up a registration packet. For more information on Head Start call 970- 243-9318.

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