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PD Handbook for Universal Preschool

Special Education Training and Authorization Requirements for Early Childhood Educators

For the 2023-24 school year, CDE will pilot the plan contained in this handbook.


The Exceptional Children's Education Act requires that "Preschool Providers shall complete all special education training and licensing or authorization requirements for early childhood educators established by the Department of Education prior to any placement by the administrative unit of a child with disabilities in its program. Preschool Providers that have provided services to children with disabilities in prior Colorado public preschool programs are exempt from this requirement."  (3.02(3)(a)(ii)). This manual serves as a guide for professional development to assure opportunities for appropriate educational placements for children with disabilities.

Glossary of Acronyms

AU = Special Education Administrative Unit
CDE = Colorado Department of Education
CDEC = Colorado Department of Early Childhood
ECEA = Exceptional Children’s Educational Act
ESSU = Exceptional Student Services Unit at the CDE
LCO = Local Coordinating Organization
PDIS = Professional Development Information System


Administrative Unit (AU) provides educational services to exceptional children and is responsible for the local administration of the ECEA Rules.

Preschool provider means any of the following entities that are licensed through child care licensing:

  • A child care center
  • A school district licensed to operate as a public preschool provider
  • A charter school licensed to operate as a public preschool provider
  • A head start program

Handbook Contents


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