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Colorado School District Offers Mobile Preschool to Underserved Areas

With the help of a local community organization, one Colorado school district is taking preschool to the streets.

Funded by Garfield School District Re-2 and the Aspen Community Foundation, a retrofitted school bus has been visiting low-income neighborhoods, delivering free preschool to children from 3 to 5 years old who otherwise don't have access to early-childhood education, according to a news report in the Post Independent.

"Gus the Bus," whose seats have been replaced with the trappings of a regular classroom, has been visiting six isolated and underserved neighborhoods twice a week for two-hour sessions since school started this fall. Two qualified early-childhood teachers are on board to provide early-learning lessons based on the same curriculum used in public preschools.

The foundation is helping pay for the bus through its Cradle to Career Partnership, an initiative bringing together nonprofits, business, government and philanthropy to support children's education from preschool through high school. According to the foundation, two out of three kids in the Aspen to Parachute region don't have access to licensed preschools.

"It's an opportunity to reach kids who can't be in preschool, whether it's cost, lack of transportation, parent work schedules or the fact that most other preschools are filled to capacity," Jayne Poss, program coordinator for the Aspen Community Foundation, told the newspaper.

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