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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

Guide to Serving Children: Rule 11 Guidance Document

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 2021-2024

Approved Equivalency for Paraeducators

Education Specialist Contact Map


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.

2021 Results Matter Technical Assistance Document

MyTeaching Strategies 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.

Teaching Strategies GOLD™ training is scheduled across Nebraska. Training will appear on the Nebraska Early Childhood Training Calendar.

Nebraska’s Learning Pathways for GOLD

A guide for users and administrators that features a variety of resources related to technical assistance, in-person trainings, and online resources.


For further information about GOLD, contact Alyssa Anson 531-207-9789.

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 2021 Training Schedule

CLASS 2021 Training Schedule

The Whole Body Classroom Series 2021 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.

Evaluation Progress Reports

Grant Forms

Grant Applications and Budgets are due by February 1, 2022 for the 2022-2023 school year.

For further information, please contact Kristine Luebbe 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 November 29, 2021 11:41am