Annual Preschool Showcase Offers Denver Parents And Toddlers An Educational Shopping Experience

Toddlers of all sorts ran around the Dahlia Center for Health and Well-Being on Saturday morning eating fruit cups and candy while gandering at a 6-foot-tall Minion and listening to stories, a preview of their preschool education experience to come.

The Denver Preschool Program hosted its sixth annual Preschool Showcase designed as a one-stop-shop for Denver families to explore early learning options for their youngins.

The more than 40 booths were not limited to only schools. Child care options were also present along with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, dental screenings, Denver Art Museum, community centers and the Denver Library.

Soren Alauf, 3, checks out toys ...
Andy Cross, The Denver PostSoren Alauf, 3, checks out toys on a table while his parents Marko and Mary Alauf listen to potential preschool possibilities for Soren at the 6th annual Denver Preschool Program Showcase at the Dahlia Center for Health and Well-Being Jan. 13, 2018.

“With so many preschool programs in the same place at the same time, the showcase is a great opportunity for parents to gather information that will help them make the best decision for their children,” said Jennifer Landrum, president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program.

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Since preschool is not required and can cost up to $950 a month, covering all bases for a child’s critical first step in their education career is key but can often be overwhelming.

“For someone who’s fairly new to Denver … it’s a nice place to be able to get all your questions answered in one spot,” Sara Knopp said with her 7-month-old, Hugo strapped to her chest while she wheeled around her 3-year-old son Ellis in a stroller. “I just kind of thought he needs a different voice, a different environment than being at home.”

Knopp, along with other parents at the event, said her main criteria for deciding on a school is proximity to home and price, along with the Colorado Shines rating, which is a quality rating and improvement system for Colorado’s licensed early care and learning programs.

Right now is the time to be looking, comparing and deciding where a child will attend in the fall.

“Space fills up quickly and so the earlier you start the better,” said Tricia Nelson, communication manager for Denver Preschool Program. “There’s going to be more waitlists and it’s going to be harder (after February). … The earlier parents get their kids into school the more education they’ll have and the more prepared they’ll be for kindergarten.”

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Annual Preschool Showcase offers Denver parents and toddlers an educational shopping experience
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