Early Childhood Advocates Speak Up at Colorado Capitol

Nearly 80 participants meet with legislators to show support for early childhood development and learning.

Contact: Tara Manthey
Title: Communications Director
Phone: (720) 256-1312
Email: tara@coloradokids.org

Early Childhood Advocates Speak Up at Colorado Capitol

Nearly 80 participants meet with legislators to show support for early childhood development and learning.


February 28th, 2013

Denver, CO – Early childhood advocates, including parents, service providers and others, gathered at the Colorado State Capitol today to explore the latest issues in early childhood policymaking, learn new advocacy skills, and reach out to lawmakers to ensure Colorado’s youngest children are at the forefront of their minds as they craft policy impacting the lives of children and families.

Early Childhood Advocacy Day was co-hosted by the Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning to raise the voices of parents, caregivers and early childhood professionals. The event was also supported by 30 partner organizations.

“Too often in discussions about early childhood, the voices and stories of actual parents and children—and their needs and experiences—are not included in the decision-making process,” said Charlotte Brantley, President and CEO of Clayton Early Learning. “Today’s trainings and visits with legislators helped policy makers connect with real Coloradans, but also helped parents and caregivers learn that their voice matters.”

Advocates helped spread the word about legislation that may impact early learning and development, including bills to align early childhood services, the potential for major investments in full-day kindergarten and quality pre-k through overhauling the school finance act, and getting more kids covered with health insurance by extending coverage to parents.

“I know my kids, my families, and how to serve them—but this is something that I don’t know about,” said Deb Hartman, Program Director for South Central Council of Governments Early Learning Center in Trinidad. “Today I learned I can become an advocate on another level and I’m thankful for the opportunity to go to another level for my families.”

The Colorado Legislature can have a big impact on early childhood development. It has created programs like The Colorado Preschool Program, an effective program that meets six out of 10 quality standards of the National Institute for Early Education Research and consistently demonstrates school readiness gains for Colorado’s most at-risk children.

“I understand the value of early childhood education, because I was a recipient,” Sen. Jessie Ulibarri of Commerce City told advocates. “I know that my story wasn’t a bootstrap story … a network of support made it possible.”

Rep. Amy Stephens told the many child care and preschool providers attending the event that their services make it possible for working mothers like herself to succeed. She encouraged the advocates to share with lawmakers their knowledge and experience of working with children.

“It’s such an honor to work with you,” she said. “You are so intimately entwined in everything we do.”


About Colorado Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed for over 25 years to creating hope and opportunity for all of Colorado’s more than 1.2 million kids. The Children’s Campaign champions policies and programs that help lift children out of poverty, improve child health, early childhood learning and development, and K-12 education, and provide all of Colorado’s children the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Clayton Early Learning is Colorado’s leading catalyst in providing and improving early education during the critical prenatal-to-5 period. The non-profit organization, which includes two schools, harnesses the synergy of research, practice and training to close learning gaps for the children who need it most. Through its public and private partnerships, Clayton Early Learning drives system change throughout the state championing the fact that quality early education can and does change lives.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tara Manthey at (720) 256-1312 or email Tara at tara@coloradokids.org.