Below you will find the answers to Renaissance Montessori Academy’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Frequently Asked Questions. If you do not find the answer you are looking for, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Here is the website to find information from UPK directly!

We want to provide a brief history from what we understand about UPK in Colorado:

When UPK was first brought up, it was thought to be only as an extension of programs in the public schools. There was a lot of pushback as families and private care centers/schools in Colorado want mixed delivery systems. Without taking all of the work that started back to the drawing board, the legislation was pushed forward as is, knowing there would be a lot to work on as it gets pushed out and over the next few years.

Because of this, some things were missed, including the actual costs of running private centers vs public centers. As an example, our overhead is much higher than public schools because we offer mostly full-day schooling (so full-time staffing), mixed age group classrooms (not putting UPK children in their own room), highly educated and trained lead and assistant teachers (many teachers at RMA hold masters degrees and all leads and many assistants are Montessori trained from a MACTE accredited program), use a specialized curriculum (Montessori), and we own our building and incur all the costs and don’t share space with a public school for free or low costs.

The UPK system also has an interesting formula for providing funds to different counties. For example, children in Pueblo schools will receive more money per student for the same number of hours as children in Douglas County. This is because the poverty rate is higher there. The inference is that schools in Douglas County can provide more wrap services at a cost for families who can afford it.

Another missed opportunity is regarding supporting children and servicing IEPs/504s or other plans at private programs. Please keep reading below for more information.

Why is attendance so important for my child’s UPK year?

UPK will have several requirements for both the school and families to uphold. The one requirement that we know of will always be a non-negotiable is ATTENDANCE.  Children may not miss school during their UPK time without written excuses like illness, weather, or family emergency.

Also, because of the Montessori curriculum and the UPK attendance requirements, UPK children are expected to be at RMA by 8:00 am to start their work cycle. Please let the school know if there will be any challenges with arrival time.

How will RMA record attendance for UPK?

RMA uses Early Learning Ventures (ELV) for attendance keeping. Every parent and emergency contact will have a unique sign-in using a code and/or phone app. If you need help with this system, please let us know!

What are the UPK hours at RMA?

UPK children attend 5-full-days per week. UPK is held Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 am and for 2 hours each afternoon, typically 1:00 to 3:00 pm. This includes 4 mornings of Montessori instruction and 1 morning of studio instruction, as well as 2 hours of afternoon Montessori instruction 5 days per week.

For a breakdown of the credit, tuition, and other options, please click on the UPK Tuition and Dues Sheet.

Why can’t I choose a 4- full or half-day program for my UPK child?

There are a few reasons RMA has decided against the 4-day per week programs for UPK.

  1. There aren’t enough hours in the 4-half-day program to cover the UPK agreement.
  2. Though the 4-full days include afternoon instruction, and for the most part, this instruction will be seamless with other children in the classroom, which is specific to the Montessori approach. However, if there is a need to make up time for UPK, these children will need to be pulled out of class to receive UPK-specific instruction. We at RMA don’t like the idea of singling out children in this way as we believe it leads to disruption in learning and confidence building.
  3. When a child is 4 years old, we believe they will benefit from a 5-day per week work cycle. By attending a minimum of 5 mornings per week once your child turns 4 years old, they will have more time to work on the larger and longer materials in the classroom, grow their concentration, work with more of their peers, and have more time to prepare for their kindergarten year, which is the ultimate goal of UPK.

Why do I still have to pay if I am getting UPK?

UPK is a great benefit for families and schools alike! However, it does not and is not meant to cover all costs of providing top wages and benefits for our teachers and all the costs of running this program. RMA must continue to charge tuition to maintain our school and keep our amazing teachers.

My child is 5, can I still apply for UPK?

It depends on their date of birth. UPK requires children to turn 4 by October 1 in the school year they are applying for. UPK is specifically for children in their (PK, pre-k) Pre-Kindergarten year, or the year before entering kindergarten. Colorado uses birthdates as the factor to determine this. If your child will be 4 on October 1, but turns 5 right after, they are eligible for UPK. (This includes if they turn 5 on October 2).

Also, UPK can only be collected for one school year for 10 months.

Does my child qualify for 30 hours of UPK per week?

To qualify for 30 hours, you must meet one income-based qualifying factor, or one income-based and one additional qualifying factor. Qualifying factors can include unhoused, multilingual, foster/kinship care, and other support services. Please refer to the UPK website for more information.

After you apply on the UPK website, typically, the 30-hour qualification letter is sent to parents in June. If you receive this letter, please bring a copy to RMA so we can increase your credit.

If my child has an IEP, 504, or another publicly serviced plan, can they attend RMA?

Not if your plan is being serviced by the public school. Unfortunately, this is one of the pieces that makes UPK not a mixed delivery system. If you have a publicly serviced plan and you would like to use your UPK credit, you must use it at a public school.

If you would like to still join RMA, there are ways to support your child’s needs and modifications at RMA using your private pay or insurance. Please reach out to us and/or UPK about next steps.

Am I able to apply for a scholarship at RMA if I am in UPK?

YES! Please use the TADS link to apply for a scholarship at RMA. Find out more with the How To Apply flyer.

RMA has a long history of providing tuition assistance for families and even though UPK does offer a wonderful financial benefit for families, we want all UPK children to be able to join RMA 5 days per week. If finances are holding you up from your child attending 5-days or attending at all, please let us know, we want to work with you!

Am I able to pay upfront for the year and receive the “Pay in advance” discount?

Yes, and… You may pay the entire discounted tuition upfront and receive the RMA discount. However, RMA will need to reimburse you monthly for your UPK credit starting in August.

This is because, as stated above, UPK is dependent on requirements. If a requirement is not met, RMA is not guaranteed to receive your child’s UPK credit, and cannot extend this credit to you.

How will RMA stay compliant with UPK and Colorado Shines?

RMA is working on becoming Montessori accredited. This will help increase our Colorado Shines rating. Our teachers also continue their education and training ahead of the needs of UPK.