There are not enough high-quality early childhood education (ECE) centers in Denver to meet existing and growing demand. According to Denver’s Office of Children’s Affairs (OCA), child care deserts are neighborhoods where there are more than three times as many children as there are licensed child care slots, creating a limited opportunity to participate in early childhood education.
A barrier to the development of new ECE facilities in Denver lies in the built environment: affordable and adequate real estate, licensing requirements, permitting and construction timelines, etc. The process to develop sites is lengthy, expensive, and difficult. Operators and developers operate in functional silos that prevent creation of viable, feasible partnerships. Building off of Radian’s 2018 ECE Resource Guide, Finding Space for Our Children: A Guide for Navigating the Complex World of Early Childhood Education as well as Radian’s work on the Real Estate and Land Use Framework for Education Providers, Radian is developing an updated, revised graphic handbook. This handbook visually outlines current requirements and challenges and provides creative design solutions through market analyses, case studies, waiver options, and innovative space design. The ECE Development Handbook seeks to increase the number of ECE seats in Denver by developing a guide to support new ECE operators and developers to understand and overcome common built environment barriers in the ECE sector.