Early Childhood Training Center

babytwo girls smilinggirls in leavesbuddiesdad and baby

The Early Childhood Training Center, part of the Nebraska Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood, provides the state leadership for the Early Learning Connection, Nebraska’s early childhood professional development system. Together with the seven regional Early Learning Connection partnerships, an array of professional development options are accessible to early childhood teachers and caregivers from child care, Head Start, school-based early learning programs, to parents, child development experts, those who teach teachers and others who touch children’s and families’ lives.

The early childhood professional development infrastructure is supported through the following:

The regional Early Learning Connection Partnerships, grant-funded through the Nebraska Department of Education, offer the primary delivery of professional development activities.

Specialized training series’,are designed by the Early Childhood Training Center staff and consultants. They require trainers who are certified for delivery of the training curriculum.

A Web-based calendar of early childhood and school-age (out of school-time) offers a searchable calendar of training opportunities statewide so can select a location near you.

Information and media materials are available to promote information sharing and skill-building of early childhood professionals and parents.

Child care selection assistance are available services to Nebraskans.

Early Learning Connection for Quality Portfolio is an introduction to child care staff in centers and home to engage in professional development, reflective activities and program quality improvement projects.

Professional development to support the statewide implementation of Results Matter is designed to enhance the skills of those implementing active learning curriculum, conducting authentic assessment and using the on-line assessment management systems.

Follow this link to further information about the Early Learning Connection.

For information about training opportunities, contact Emily Nash, 402-557-6893.


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School Readiness

The Nebraska Department of Education recognizes that it is important for children in kindergarten programs to have expectations appropriate for their physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities. The goal of kindergarten is to make the best match between teaching and learning for every child to support a successful school experience.

The relationships and communication between the kindergarten teacher and the families plays an essential role in ensuring children’s success. In spite of wide use of the term in connection with school entrance, there is no widely accepted understanding of readiness. In other words, perspectives about readiness have their sources in the belief systems that parents and educators have about child development and the purpose of schooling. A more productive way to think about readiness is to shift thinking from “Are they ready for kindergarten?” to “What must we do to make sure all children can be successful?” This approach places responsibilities on adults—parents, educators, and community leaders—to shape the early home and community environment to support children’s development and learning.

Specific academic skills often thought to be prerequisites for school success can easily be learned by children whose needs in the following five areas have been met: 

  • Health and physical well being
  • Social and emotional well being
  • Approaches to learning
  • Language development
  • General knowledge about the world around them    

Content for this page comes from Ready for Success – What Families Want to Know about Starting School in Nebraska.

School Readiness Publications

Getting Ready for Kindergarten: What Early Care & Education Providers Need to Know to Support Nebraska’s Children & Their Families 

Ready for Success

Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines

Early Learning Foundations

Early Learning Foundations Order form

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Kindergarten-Primary Programs


children with backpacksKindergarten is a very important year in the lives of Nebraska’s youngest students and their families. It begins to create the foundation of knowledge on which they will continue to build formal schooling.

A number of documents have been created to inform and support parents, administrators, teachers, and other early childhood professionals on what kindergarten best practices look like. The documents are based on current research and were created by kindergarten teachers and other early childhood professionals in Nebraska.

For more information about kindergarten and primary grades in Nebraska, please contact Melody Hobson at 402-471-0263.

Kindergarten Entrance

For additional information about professional development related to kindergarten in Nebraska or to borrow media materials on this topic, contact the media center at 402-557-6885 or visit the media center’s online catalog.

For questions about kindergarten entry, please refer to Neb.Rev.Stat 79-214. School districts should contact their district legal counsel for additional assistance.
Kindergarten and Early Childhood Program Eligibility for School Years 2013-2016
School Readiness

Streaming Videos from the October 2010 Kindergarten Webinar Series

October 12: Purposeful Play—Connecting Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for Effective Early Childhood Outcomes
October 19: Nebraska’s New Kindergarten Early Learning Guidelines

Kindergarten Position Statement

Position Statement Executive Summary
Position Statement, May 2010

Other Documents

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Birth to Age 5 Programs

Architectural Design for Early Childhood Programs

Approved Equivalency for Paraeducators

Early Childhood Education Grant Program, Ages Birth to Three (Sixpence)

Early Childhood Education Grant Program, Ages Three to Five

Early Development Network

Early Childhood Program Contacts

Early Childhood Programs: A Guide to Serving Children Birth to Kindergarten Age in Center-based Early Childhood Programs Operated by Public School Districts, Educational Service Units, and their Community Partners

Head Start

NDE Approved Early Childhood Programs

Nebraska Early Childhood Education Career Advising Guide

Special Education

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Results Matter in Nebraska

Measuring Results for Young Children and their Families

Results Matter in Nebraska is a child, program, and family outcomes measurement system
designed and implemented to improve programs and supports for all young children birth to age five (B-5) served by districts and their community partners, which may include Head Start and other community early childhood programs.

Districts and ESUs are expected to serve children within inclusive classrooms that represent a full range of abilities and disabilities and the social, linguistic, and economic diversity of families
within the community.

Results Matter is responsive to Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Rule 11–Regulations for the Approval of Prekindergarten Programs Established by School Boards or Educational Service Units and for the Issuance of Early Childhood Education Grants, Rule 51–Regulations and Standards for Special Education Programs, and the federal mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C (birth to age three) and Part B-619 (ages three to five).

Results Matter measures child progress and program quality to accomplish these purposes:
improve experiences, learning, development, and lives of young children birth to age five and
their families; inform program practices; demonstrate program effectiveness; guide the
development of local and state policies and procedures; and, provide data to demonstrate results.

NEW Results Matter Webinars HERE!

Teaching Strategies GOLD™ training is scheduled at several sites in Nebraska to locate visit the Training Calendar

Results Matter provides YouTube videos to support implementation and classroom practices in quick and concise video formats for easy viewing. View the How to Videos here.

For further information about Results Matter in Nebraska, contact Teresa Berube at 402-471-4319 or teresa.berube@nebraska.gov.

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Laws and Rules


Child Care Subsidy
Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council (ECICC)
Early Development Network
Endowment Statute
Kindergarten Eligibility: Nebraska Revised Statute 79-214 (More Information)


Rule 10, Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools
Rule 11, Early Childhood Education Programs
Rule 21, Teacher Certification
Rule 51, Special Education Program Standards
Full list of all Nebraska Rules

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Standards and Guidelines

Federal Standards and Guidelines

Head Start Performance Standards
Head Start Early Development and Learning Framework
Title I, Part A, Non-regulatory Guidance for Preschoolers
Office of Special Education: Part C, Non-regulatory Guidance

Nebraska Standards and Guidelines

Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals
K-12 Academic Standards
Nebraska’s Early Learning Guidelines
Quality Criteria for Programs Serving Groups of Children
School-Age and Youth Development Core Competencies


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Rule 11

On November 18, 2015, Governor Ricketts signed Rule 11: Regulations for the Approval of Prekindergarten Programs established by School Boards or Educational Service Units and for the Issuance of Early Childhood Education Grants. The newly revised Rule 11 became effective November 23, 2015. 

NDE will NOT send an additional early childhood program report based on the new regulations, but school district and ESU staff responsible for operating prekindergarten programs should become familiar with the new requirements, as compliance with them is required for 2015-2016 program approval.  

Rule 11

For information about significant changes in the Rule:

Guide to Changes in Rule 11

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