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.
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!
2023-24 Support Plan Guides
The guides below provide helpful links and additional information about each plan.
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.
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
Provides table washing procedures, hand washing procedures, playground guidelines and USDA meal guidelines.
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.
- Early Childhood Education Grant Program—Ages 3-5
The application period for Early Childhood Grants to support 3–5-year-old children in public school district or Educational Service Units for the 2023-2024 school year is closed. The application period for the 2024-2025 school year will open in November of 2023 and are due by 5:00pm CT on February 1, 2024.
For further information, please contact Kristine Luebbe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 531-510-8101.
Early Childhood Education State Reports (Public Schools and ESUs):
- 2021-22 Early Childhood Education Report
- 2020-21 Early Childhood Education Report
Programs at a Glance Flyer
- 2019-20 Early Childhood Education Report
Programs at a Glance Flyer
- 2017-18 Early Childhood Education Report
Programs at a Glance Flyer
- 2016-17 Early Childhood Education Report
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!