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Birth to Age 5 Programs

School districts across Nebraska provide early childhood programs for children birth through age 5, in both home- and center-based settings. These programs serve children who represent a full range of abilities, languages, and economic diversity of families within their community, often times through partnerships with community agencies. The resources found on this page should be used to support all aspects of school-district operated programs, including regulations, child and program outcomes, and reports.



Rule 11 is the regulations that are required for all ESU and district-operated early childhood programs, regardless of setting type.

This section will highlight resources to support the regulations of birth-kindergarten entrance age early childhood programs in Nebraska.


Rule 11

A Guide to Rule 11

NDE Approved Early Childhood Programs

ESU Early Childhood Program Addendum for Multiple Sites

Architectural Design for Early Childhood Programs

Kindergarten and Early Childhood Program Eligibility for School Years 2024-2027 — Coming soon!

Approved Equivalency for Paraeducators

Approved Equivalency for Home Visitors

Early Childhood Contacts Map


The NDE Office of Early Childhood is redefining how support is provided to school districts and ESUs to be more systematized and equitable.

Watch the video presentation below to learn more!


Download Presentation Slide Deck

Rule 11 System of Support FAQ

District Support Plan Rubric


2023-24 Support Plan Guides

The guides below provide helpful links and additional information about each plan.

Standard Support Plan Guide

Focused Support Plan Guide

Advanced Support Plan Guide

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


Visit the Results Matter Nebraska website for always-up-to-date resources that focus on child, program, and family outcomes and to find answers to frequently asked questions.

MyTeachingStrategies GOLD is an observation based assessment that the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) utilizes to assess child outcomes in all birth to age 5 programs that follow Rule 11. GOLD allows for early childhood educators to assess children in their natural environment, through play, to most accurately capture child outcomes.

This section will highlight online resources, professional development opportunities, and technical assistance resources all related to the GOLD assessment.

View the GOLD professional development flyer or search for GOLD on the Nebraska Early Childhood Training Calendar to find and register for upcoming GOLD training.


For further information about GOLD or technical assistance, contact

The purpose of measuring program outcomes is to ensure that young children participate in a high quality early childhood program that contributes to positive cognitive, social, and health outcomes. The current measurement tools NDE utilizes are ECERS-3 and CLASS.

Resources for Teachers

ECERS-3 Additional Notes
Additional notes of clarification for various items in ECERS-3

Supplementary Materials
Provides table washing procedures, hand washing procedures, playground guidelines and USDA meal guidelines.

ERS Training Schedule

CLASS Training Schedule

Whole Body Classroom Series Training Schedule

Architectural Design for Early Childhood Programs

The Early Childhood Education Grant Program is intended to support the development of children in the 3 to 5 age range through the provision of comprehensive center- based programs. In most cases the projects expand and/or combine existing pre-kindergarten programs funded through district, federal, or parent fees, including Head Start. Each project receives funding for up to one-half of the total operating budget of the project per year on a continuing basis, subject to availability of the funds. A public school or an educational service unit is the fiscal agent.

Funded projects are required to operate in compliance with 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 11 reflects research-based elements of quality early childhood education programs intended to produce strong outcomes for children.


Grant Forms

The application period for Early Childhood Grants to support 3–5-year-old children in public school district or Educational Service Units for the 2024-2025 school year is closed. The application period for the 2025-2026 school year will open in November of 2024.

For further information, please contact Kristine Luebbe at or 531-510-8101.

Early Childhood Education State Reports (Public Schools and ESUs):

Other reports:

Early Childhood Grant Program Reports (ages 3-5)

IDEA, Parts B and C

State of the Schools Report

Endowment Report: Sixpence Annual Evaluation Report, 2016-2017

High-quality early childhood programs can have a lifelong, positive impact on young children and their families. Step Up to Quality helps early child care providers and educators recognize and improve quality.

Programs enrolled in Step Up to Quality have access to coaching and resources that help them on their path to higher quality. These resources enable any provider or educator — big or small — to take quality to the next level.

Public schools, Head Start and accredited programs enter Step Up to Quality at Step 3. Learn more and sign up!

The Preschool Post

The Preschool Post is an e-newsletter that goes out bimonthly during the school year (August-May). It is a collaborative effort between the NDE Office of Early Childhood and Office of Special Education, developed to provide educators and administrators with helpful updates, information and technical assistance to continue high-quality early education in Nebraska.

Check out some of our past issues and subscribe!


Updated April 25, 2024 8:29am