By Danielle Chavira

DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis celebrated milestones surround early childhood education in Colorado on Wednesday. Today marks one year since voters approved a universal preschool program which would provide 10 hours of early care and education per week, per child the year before they enter kindergarten.

(credit: CBS)

The program will be funded in part by a state tax on tobacco and a nicotine products tax. The program is expected to rollout by July 2023.

“The ultimate goal with everything that we are doing is to really improve access to quality, early care and education,” Rep. Emily Sirota told CBS4’s Jeff Todd.

Polis also celebrated the state’s new Department of Early Childhood and its transition plan which is still being approved. The Early Childhood Leadership Commission is expected to endorse the department by Nov. 15.

(credit: CBS)

The department will open on July 1. According to the governor’s office,

“The DEC will help families more easily and equitably access early childhood services; support the early childhood workforce; position the universal preschool program to increase services for low-income children and simultaneously expand access to all children before they enter kindergarten; place an early childhood champion in the Governor’s Cabinet; align efforts and funding to improve quality early care and education; and define what high-quality, age-appropriate early care and education looks like for teachers and children.”

Learn more about public planning meetings regarding the DEC hosted by the ECLC.

Danielle Chavira