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The Power of Preschool


October 26, 2017
Jenna Samelson Browning
Colorado Parent

When friends and family expressed concern that Jessica’s four-year-old daughter Jaylah was communicating without using words, she assured them Jaylah was developing at her own pace and would speak when ready. “She wouldn’t say more than ‘uh,’” Jessica recalls. “I could understand her, but of course, I’m her mother.”

It wasn’t until Jessica enrolled Jaylah in north Denver’s Hope Center Children’s Program—a childcare provider participating in the Denver Preschool Program (DPP)—that she discovered her daughter’s silence indicated a speech disorder. Hope Center staff arranged an in-class tutor for Jaylah as well as home visits from a speech therapist. By the end of her preschool year, Jaylah could speak in full sentences like her classmates.

Now the once shy toddler is an outspoken, headstrong, and “very, very confident” 14-year-old, reports Jessica. “Because of the DPP helping me send Jaylah to a good school, she’s an A-plus kid.”

A Decade of Achievements for Early Learners

The number of children, such as Jaylah, whose families have collectively received more than $92 million in taxpayer-funded tuition assistance from the independent nonprofit DPP exceeds 50,000—enough children to fill Coors Field. Denver voters first approved a 0.12-percent dedicated DPP sales tax in 2006. In 2014, they increased it to 0.15 percent and renewed it to extend to 2026. “Our vision is that every child in Denver enters kindergarten ready to reach their full potential both cognitively and social-emotionally,” says DPP president and CEO Jennifer Landrum.