Early Childhood Mental Health

Nebraska Early Childhood Pyramid Model for Supporting Social / Emotional Competence (EC-PBIS)

The NDE Offices of Early Childhood and Special Education are partnering with other agencies and organizations to bring the Pyramid Model to early childhood programs throughout the state. This program will enhance the social-emotional-behavioral health and well-being of all young children. It will assist them in reaching their full potential.

This is a long-term commitment involving early childhood leaders who are fully committed to program-wide adoption. Team Leaders will receive comprehensive professional development and ongoing coaching supports. Parents and families are engaged as valued partners who provide needed input.

Click here for a
short overview.

The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based model for supporting social competence and preventing challenging behavior in young children. The needs of all children are addressed with challenging behaviors handled in a comprehensive and systematic process.

What is the Pyramid Model?

The pyramid framework includes the following sections, beginning at the base:
Yellow Tier – an effective workforce that promotes positive relationships with children, parents, and all involved.
Blue Tier – an environment that is nurturing and supportive
Green Tier – targeted strategies that provide needed social and emotional support
Red Tier – individualized support for children whose needs are not met in prior levels.

What do the categories of the Pyramid Model mean?

YellowYellow Tier / Bottom Level: The Nebraska Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals allows staff and administrators an opportunity to assess and identify skill levels that are needed for working effectively with young children. The document is a tool that can be used in planning and tracking professional development. In addition, the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines are available to describe what children need to learn and be able to do and how adults can support that learning. Staff not only attend training but need to be part of a system that ensures implementation of what they have learned. An effective worker collaborates with co-workers, parents, and others for the good of the child. There is shared decision making about practices, procedures, and individual child planning.

Blue TriangleBlue Tier / 2nd from the Bottom Level: At this level we find positive, nurturing, and responsive relationships and a supportive environment. These relationships are a central component in children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. With the advancement of brain research, research studies, and technology advancements we have learned that early experiences correlate to later successes and failures as adults. Providing positive emotional and social support to young children helps them learn the skills needed to function well with others. Early relationships as well as parenting and care giving behaviors impact peer relationships that children develop both in and out of educational settings. Positive early relationships also link to later social adjustments and social competence with peers.

The physical environment is another strategy to promote positive social and emotional development and competence. The classroom design promotes social interactions and participation in activities that provide developmental opportunities. Children are more comfortable when they have consistent, simple, positively stated rules to follow. These rules help them to demonstrate positive social and emotional behaviors and avoid using inappropriate behavior to meet their needs. These rules need to be taught and practiced as part of the daily routine

GreenGreen Tier / 3rd from the Bottom Level: targeted strategies that provide needed social and emotional support:

Specific strategies are identified to systematically support children in developing competence in emotional literacy, problem solving, impulse control, and building and maintaining friendships. These strategies (such as the use of various story books) are used intentionally to prevent problem behaviors and to modify or change them if they do occur.

RedRed Tier / Top Level: provides individualized support for children whose needs are not met in prior levels. All children exhibit challenging behavior at some time. Children with severe and persistent challenging behavior are a small percentage. These children benefit from an Intensive Individualized Intervention. Using a functional behavior assessment, a team writes a plan for a particular child, carries it out, and continually reviews and updates the plan.

When there is a repeated pattern of challenging behavior, there is the concern that it will interfere with a child’s optimal learning and ability to have positive interactions with others. The Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning identifies the following as challenging behaviors when exhibited persistently:

  • Physical and verbal aggression
  • Noncompliance and defiance
  • Self-injury
  • Disruptive vocal and motor responses such as screaming
  • Destruction of property
  • Withdrawal

An infant may exhibit these behaviors:

  • Attachment difficulties
  • Sleeping and eating difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty in soothing

Serious behaviors do not resolve themselves without intentional, systematic intervention. Not addressing challenging behaviors in young children can increase the likelihood that their behavior will escalate as they grow older.

For more in-depth information, CSEFEL has provided an informative video:
Promoting Social and Emotional Competence

Why the Pyramid Model?

Children are growing and changing at a rapid pace. Using approaches that involve “best practices” teaches children how to get along and use skills to solve their own problems. The Pyramid Model uses three main stages to guide children. These are:

(1) Show & Tell (explain expectations to children)
(2) Practice makes Perfect (planned activities or teachable moments that implements the skill)
(3) You Got It! (children use the skill without prompting)

Along with the skills to implement these stages, various strategies and tools are also provided. To learn more in-depth procedures visit: Practical Strategies

For whom is the Pyramid Model intended?

The strategies of the Pyramid Model are for all early childhood care and education programs. The entire program does need to have a strong commitment to implementing the strategies program wide. They need to establish a team, create an implementation plan, schedule training, and develop strategies for including parents in the project.

Where do I find additional information?

The Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) has developed a myriad of resources for implementing early childhood positive behavior support strategies within the framework to the Pyramid Model in early childhood settings. There are training modules to use with staff and parents, literacy extensions, briefs, additional resources and materials available for purchase. Visit the Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning’s website for information.

In addition, the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) website is rich with resources and additional information. TACSEI takes the research that shows which practices improve the social and emotional outcomes for young children and creates resources to help decision-makers, caregivers, and service providers apply these best practices in the work they do every day. Most of these resources are available on their website to view, download, and use. The TACSEI website uses the Pyramid Model to provide a framework for addressing challenging behavior and promoting positive social and emotional competence.

What Nebraska Training Fits with the Pyramid Model?

Many established trainings fit into the Pyramid Model. These are available through the professional development system in Nebraska. Current trainers are encouraged to add these four slides to their training sessions. Providing a short overview is like the freshly brewed aroma of coffee – just a tease can create the craving for more!

The Nebraska Department of Education is hosting an intensive Implementation Academy for district or program-level teams who are interested in implementing the Pyramid Model (EC-PBIS) in preschool programs. This model provides the conceptual framework of evidence-based practices for promoting young children’s social-emotional competence and preventing and addressing challenging behavior. The Academy is the kick-off event for district/agency teams beginning a 2-3 year process of training and coaching teachers, administrators and staff in their preschool programs. Program-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model requires an extensive commitment to a systems-change effort and strong leadership from locally-developed leadership teams. The Academy will provide training and materials needed to support program-wide implementation and sustainability over time.

For more information regarding the Pyramid Model contact:

The Early Childhood Training Center at 402-557-6880

Teresa Berube at teresa.berube@nebraska.gov or 402-471-4319

Linda Bray at linda.bray@nebraska.gov or 402-557-6892

Click HERE for a concise brochure overview.
Click HERE for a handout of this webpage.

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Early Childhood Management Training Program

Early Care and Education Management Training Program

This 8-module series, totaling 45 clock hours, is designed for early childhood administrators. It fulfills the Nebraska Child Care Licensing requirement of Child Care Management Training.

The purpose of this training is to improve your business practices, policies and procedures and program operations in order to better support your staff and the children in your program.

Overview of Early Childhood Care and Education Program Management

The comprehensive training consists of eight separate modules taught in an interactive workshop format. Modules 1-7 are six hour workshops and module 8 is a three hour workshop. Material covered during this training series will include the implementation of the new DHHS licensing requirements such as written policies for illness exclusion, disaster preparedness plan, age-appropriate program description and diapering procedures. The eight modules are as follows:

  1. The Business of Child Care

  2. Child Development and Learning

  3. Policies and Procedures

  4. Supporting Children Center Wide

  5. Effective Workforce

  6. The Inside of the Building

  7. Relationships in Child Care

  8. Transitions

For the schedule and registration information visit the statewide Training Calendar http://ecrecords.education.ne.gov/Calendar.aspx.

For further information, please contact Dena Johnson at dena.johnson@nebraska.gov, 402-557-6886, or 1-800-89-CHILD.

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Data Coalition

Nebraska Early Childhood Data Coalition

The Nebraska Early Childhood Data Coalition is an outgrowth of several efforts across the state of Nebraska, including the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems project Together for Kids & Families in partnership with the Nebraska Head Start-State Collaboration Office along with other key partners and stakeholders. The Coalition, launched in 2009, is a unique blend of interests, both public and private, that serves as a vehicle to explore aspects of early childhood data collections, processes, and reporting in an attempt to connect and develop a comprehensive early childhood data system.

Participating stakeholders include: Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, Voices for Children in Nebraska, Together for Kids & Families Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Lifespan Health Services; Nebraska Department of Education Office of Early Childhood and Early Childhood Training Center; Child, Youth and Family Studies at University of Nebraska – Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute; Nebraska Head Start-State Collaboration Office.

I. General Purpose

The purpose of this Coalition is to:

  • establish a coalition of key stakeholders regarding early childhood specific data across Nebraska;
  • enhance collaboration regarding data through clearly defined policies and procedures;
  • explore the potential for a comprehensive early childhood data system.

II. Introduction

Various early childhood data are available among numerous private and public-funded local, state, and national early childhood organizations and programs. A process for identifying, collecting, reviewing, monitoring, and reporting these data is needed to inform continuous program improvement and increase access to high quality early childhood programs and services. Early childhood policy discussions and decision-making may be supported by access to comprehensive data systems and reporting mechanisms. The current system for data collection and reporting among early childhood programs and services is fragmented and subject to regulations and restrictions. A venue is needed to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of available data and to increase knowledge of relevant data sets and systems, the meaning and interactions thereof.

III. Scope of Agreement

The participating stakeholders agree to the following outcomes:

  • Outcome 1: Articulate and agree to follow a set of data business rules and ethical guiding principles that meet and follow local, state, federal regulations as appropriate
  • Outcome 2: Map data systems on a biennial basis
  • Outcome 3: Identify and select indicators and outcomes for joint and individual purposes
  • Outcome 4: Collect, analyze, and report data on identified indicators and outcomes (or otherwise determined by the Coalition)


For more information please contact Helen Raikes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, at hraikes2@unl.edu

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Core Competencies

Nebraska’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals

What Are Core Competencies/What is Core Knowledge?

Core Knowledge and Core Competencies are what all adults who work with children need to know, understand, and be able to do to support children’s development and school readiness. They provide a broad categorization of knowledge and skills that apply across all roles in the early care and education field.

Nebraska’s Core Competencies Are Voluntary

The competencies, skills, and levels described are voluntary for those working in the early care and education field. Program directors, teachers, family child care home providers and others are encouraged to use Nebraska’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals as they find helpful.

Relationship Between Early Learning Guidelines and Core Competencies

Nebraska developed voluntary Early Learning Guidelines for children ages birth to three and for children ages three to five. The Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines were developed to describe what children need to learn and be able to do and how adults can support that learning. The Early Learning Guidelines is a resource to assist adults working in early childhood in their planning of meaningful learning experiences for young children. The Core Competencies are Nebraska’s description of the knowledge and skills adults, who work with children from birth to age five, need to develop over years of experience and/or through a course of study.

Early Learning Guidelines are what children should know, understand, and be able to do.

Core Competencies are what adults who work with children should know, understand, and be able to do to support children in reaching desired outcomes.

Nine areas of knowledge and skill in Nebraska’s Core Competencies

A. Child Growth and Development
B. Health, Safety and Nutrition
C. Learning Environments
D. Planning Learning Experiences and Curriculum
E. Interacting with Children and Providing Guidance to Children
F. Observation, Assessment, and Documentation
G. Partnerships with Families and Communities
H. Professionalism and Leadership
I. Administration, Program Planning and Development

Nebraska’s Core Competencies Resources

Working document of the Core Competencies
Self Assessments
Booklet of level one Core Competencies
Suggested ways for individuals to use the Core Competencies
Suggested ways for programs to use the Core Competencies
Professional Development Plan
Professional Development Record

For more information about Nebraska’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals, contact Melody Hobson.


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Nebraska Teacher Education Programs

The following colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in early childhood care and education. Where available, links to the websites have been included. For further information about teacher training, please contact the college or university in which you are interested.

Colleges and universities that offer early childhood education programs are required to meet the NAEYC professional preparation standards. The most recent version of the standards are at: www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/ppp.

Chadron State College
1000 Main Street
Chadron, NE 69337
College of Saint Mary
7000 Mercy Road
Omaha, NE 68106-2377
Concordia University
800 N. Columbia Avenue
Seward, NE 68434
Doane College
1014 Boswell Avenue
Crete, NE 68333
Hastings College
710 N. Turner
Hastings, NE 68901
Midland University
900 N. Clarkson
Fremont, NE 68025
Peru State College
600 Hoyt Street
Peru, NE 68421
Univ. of Nebraska-Kearney
2504 9th Ave.
Kearney, NE 68849
Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln
231 Mabel Lee Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0234
Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha
Kayser Hall
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha, NE 68182
Wayne State College
1111 Main Street
Wayne, NE


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Community Colleges Offering Early Childhood Programs

Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Programs
Offered Through Nebraska Community Colleges

Below is a listing of community colleges in the various regions throughout Nebraska. Links have been included, as available. Contact the college that serves your area for more information about the early childhood programs they offer. Nebraska’s early childhood teacher preparation institutions are also included in the National Directory of Early Childhood Teacher Preparation.

Colleges and universities that offer early childhood education programs are required to meet the NAEYC professional preparation standards. The most recent version of the standards are at: www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/ppp.

Central Community College Area


Columbus Campus
4500 63rd Street
P.O. Box 1027
Columbus, NE 68602-1027
(877) 222-0780
Grand Island Campus
3134 W. Highway 34
P.O. Box 4903
Grand Island, NE 68802-4903
(308) 398-4222
(877) 222-0780
Hastings Campus
550 S. Technical Blvd.
P.O. Box 1024
Hastings, NE 68902-1024
(402) 463-9811
(877) 222-0780

Little Priest Tribal College


Little Priest Tribal College
601 E. College Drive P.O. Box 270
Winnebago, NE 68071
(402) 878-2380
(877) 878-2355

Metropolitan Community College Area


Elkhorn Valley Campus
204th & West Dodge Rd.
Elkhorn, NE 68022
(402) 622-5231
(800) 228-9553
South Omaha Campus
2909 Babe Gomez Ave.
Omaha, NE 68107
(402) 622-5231
(800) 228-9553
Fort Omaha Campus
30th & Fort Streets
Omaha, NE 68103
(402) 622-5231
(800) 228-9553

Mid-Plains Community College Area


North Platte Community College – North Campus

1101 Halligan Drive

North Platte, NE 69101-3938
(308) 535-3600
(800) 658-4348
North Platte Community College
601 West State Farm Road
North Platte, NE 69101-3938
(308) 532-8740
(800) 658-4308
South Campus McCook Community College
1205 East Third
McCook, NE 69001
(308) 345-8100
(800) 658-4348

Nebraska Indian Community College


Santee – West Campus
415 N. River Road Niobrara, NE 68760 (402) 494-2311
South Sioux City – North Campus
2605 1/2 Dakota Ave. So. Sioux City, NE 86776
(402) 494-2311
Macy – South Campus
111 Hwy. 75
Macy, NE 68039
(402) 494-2311


Northeast Community College Area


Northeast Community College
801 E. Benjamin Ave. / P.O. Box 469
Norfolk, NE 68702-0777
(402) 371-2020
(800) 348-9033

Southeast Community College Area


Beatrice Campus

4771 W. Scott Rd.

Beatrice, NE 68310
(402) 228-3468
Lincoln Campus
8800 O Street
Lincoln, NE 68520
(402) 471-3333
Milford Campus

600 State St.

Milford, NE 68405
(402) 761-2131

Western Community College Area


Alliance Campus
1750 Sweetwater Avenue
Alliance, NE 69301
(308) 763-2000
Scottsbluff Campus
1601 East 27th St.
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
(308) 635-3606
Sidney Campus
371 College Drive
Sidney, NE 69162
(308) 254-5450


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Early Childhood Coach Training

Coaching is an interactive process based on a collaborative relationship. It is intentionally designed to promote sustainable growth in the attitudes, skills and knowledge to effectively implement best practices for the optimal development of young children and their families. Through observation, discussion, and reflection the coach promotes the other person’s ability to grow toward identified goals. EC Coaches support early childhood professionals in the implementation of quality early childhood practice.

Guiding principles: The Program Level coach will have an understanding and ability to put into practice and advocate for the following guiding principles in their work.

The use of:

               Maintaining confidentiality

               Culturally and linguistically responsive practice

               Natural learning environment

               Learner focused approach

               Functional and meaningful activities/supports

               Collaborative goal setting

Systems perspective with recognition that change occurs over time and coaches facilitate and anticipate change

For whom is Early Childhood Coach Training intended

Completing the application and first attending Early Childhood Coach training is required to contract for Pyramid Coach or Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) coaching initiatives across the State of Nebraska. Although attending the EC Coach training doesn’t imply coaching opportunities with Pyramid or SUTQ.

For those wishing to pursue a contract through NDE or other agencies; in order to provide quality early childhood coaching supports across varied early childhood settings.

How to apply:

              Download and Complete the Early Childhood Coach Application Form

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Child Care Licensing

Child Care Licensing

The child care licensing web page can be found on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_childcare_childcareindex.aspx.

As you browse the various pages, you’ll see many great features:

  • Description of licensing process for Family Child Care Home I, Family Child Care Home II, Child Care Centers and Preschools
  • Contact information for Child Care Licensing staff
  • Monthly listing of all licensed child care and preschool programs
  • Information about all Specialists and Supervisors and their caseload
  • Monthly Child Care Licensing Report (number of programs and license capacity)
  • The Right Place brochure – A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care
  • The number of licensed programs and licensing capacity by state and county

You can use the Web site to:

  • Download Family Child Care Home, Child Care Center and Preschool Licensing forms
  • File complaints on-line
  • Link to all Family Child Care Home, Child Care Center and Preschool Regulations
  • E-mail your Child Care Resource Specialist

License Information System

Licensure information displayed on this Web site at: www.nebraska.gov/LISSearch/search.cgi is a true and correct copy of the State of Nebraska licensure database and includes Early Childhood licensure data. This database is updated nightly to reflect any changes. This site provides general information about the license of each Family Child Care Home I, Family Child Care Home II, Child Care Center , and Preschool.

This information includes Name on License (Name of Child Care/Preschool Program), Owner/Licensee, Address on License (Address of Child Care /Preschool Program), License Type, License Number, Date of Issuance, License Billing Date, License Status, Effective Date of Status, Reason for License Status, Ages of Children, Hours of Operation, Days of Week Open (Days of Operation), Telephone Number (Child Care /Preschool Program Telephone Number), Disciplinary Action taken against the license.

Online Roster of Licensed Child Care/Preschool Programs

It is now possible to access the roster of licensed child care and preschool program on line. The list is in zip code order and is updated each month. See the roster.

The roster is long, but all programs are in zip code order, starting with the lowest zip code in the state, Within each zip code, the licensed programs are in alpha order. The name, address, phone number, license type, license capacity, days/hours of operation, and license numbers are included. The entire roster or specific pages of the roster can be printed.

Please feel free to copy and distribute this information to the parents of the children you serve. Send question or comments about the Child Care Licensing Web Page, License Information System, or Child Care/Preschool Roster to:

Diane Kvasnicka, Child Care Licensing Administrator
Nebraska Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure
P.O. Box 94986
Lincoln, NE 68509 -4986
Phone: (402) 471-9431
Fax: (402) 471-7763
E-mail: diane.kvasnicka@nebraska.gov


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Child Care Resource and Referral

The NDE Early Childhood Training Center (ECTC) is designated by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care Services, as the statewide coordinator of child care resource and referral. In that capacity, the ECTC holds membership in the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). The ECTC also works with other agencies within the state that offer child care resource and referral to extend access of these services to families.

If you have questions about finding child care in Nebraska, contact Dena Johnson, Resource and Referral Assistant, at 1-800-89-CHILD (1-800-892-4453) or 402-557-6886. Dena can help you find information on any of the following topics:

A copy of The Right Place: How to Locate Child Care in Your Area is available upon request.

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Child Abuse Prevention Training

Safe with You Training

Safe With You is a training curriculum for child care providers to meet the requirements of the Nebraska State Statute 43-2606. This bill requires licensed child care providers to complete training that "shall be designed to meet the health, safety, and developmental needs of children…and shall include information on sudden infant death syndrome, shaken baby syndrome and child abuse and neglect." The Nebraska Department of Education Early Childhood Training Center (ECTC) has developed these workshops in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services. There are three modules to the training.

Safe Sleep for Infants
(1 hour training module)

There are ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As a result of this workshop, child care providers will:

  • Define Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)
  • Discuss how research and statistics change the way we do things
  • Develop prevention strategies and identify information to share with parents
  • Develop a sleep policy and create a plan

Never Shake a Baby – Preventing Abusive Head Trauma
(1 hour training module)

When a baby is shaken, the shaking can cause brain damage, life changing disabilities, and even death. This is a childhood injury that is preventable. As a result of this workshop, child care providers will:

  • Define Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Understand the consequences of shaking a baby
  • List different reasons a baby may be crying
  • Create a personal plan

Power to Protect: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
(2 hour training module)

Child care providers need to know about child abuse and neglect, how to make a report, ways to strengthen families, and how to prevent child abuse in their own child care program. As a result of this workshop, child care providers will:

  • Define child abuse and neglect
  • Identify the physical characteristics of child abuse and neglect
  • Explore cultural issues
  • Know when and how to report
  • Identify ways to reduce the risk

If you would like more information about trainings offered in your area visit the statewide Training Calendar: http://ecrecords.education.ne.gov/Calendar.aspx

For a list of approved Safe With You trainers visit our trainer list: https://goo.gl/tuRw59

If you would like to become a Safe With You trainer, please contact Emily Nash at emily.nash@nebraska.gov, 402-557-6893, or 1-800-89 CHILD.

Child Abuse Prevention Training 2017-08-01T19:49:31+00:00
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