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Nebraska in Collaboration with EarlyEdU Alliance

“The need for high-quality early childhood teachers is greater than ever. But many prospective and experienced teachers face challenges in affording and completing college degrees that provide them with the professional skills they need.” –EarlyEdU Alliance

Project Description

The Nebraska Department of Education – Office of Early Childhood is partnering with the University of Nebraska – Kearney, T.E.A.C.H./Nebraska AEYC, and the Buffett Early Childhood Institute to deliver a set of three EarlyEdU courses to early childhood educators in Nebraska at a very low cost. During the Fall 2019 semester, a cohort of early childhood educators began competency-based online coursework.  The courses can be used for licensing required training hours and toward college credits through UNK. Throughout the courses, students will receive support from an instructor as well as a student advisor. At the end of the courses, students will have the opportunity to explore options for continuing their college coursework in a degree program and can apply to be a part of the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program.

Course Descriptions

  • Fall 2019: Engaging Interactions and Environments (3 Semester Credit Hours)
    • This course will increase learners’ skill in creating effective classroom environments and interactions by providing rich opportunities to learn about and see examples from other classrooms. Learners will also complete field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings and receive feedback focused on ensuring they can enact the practices they are learning about. This course focuses on the specific types of environments and interactions that support the development of children’s social-emotional and self-regulatory skills.
  • Spring 2020: Supporting Language and Literacy Development in Preschool (3 Semester Credit Hours)
    • This course is designed with two key learning objectives in mind. First, this course will increase learners’ knowledge about how children’s language and literacy skills develop between ages 3 to 5 and the ways in which these skills lay a foundation for later reading success. Second, learners will be introduced to key practices that promote explicit and systematic instruction. They will also participate in field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings.
  • Fall 2020: Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (3 Semester Credit Hours)
    • (In Development) In this course, you will learn about systemic and integrated approaches to family engagement in early child settings. This course focuses on the knowledge and skills early childhood professionals use to develop relationships with families that support positive family and child outcomes. During this course you will observe evidence-based practices and try out a variety of strategies. You will also reflect on your experiences related to family engagement and ways to support the development and growth of families and children. This course is based on the premise that successful early childhood educators are committed to actions that support family well-being, nurture positive parent-child relationships, develop true partnerships with families, and respect families as agents of change. In addition, the course will focus on the key role that family context plays in supporting development, as well as the key role early childhood programs can play in promoting family engagement.

For more information on the EarlyEdU Alliance, visit:


Courses will be held online and hosted through the University of Nebraska – Kearney Canvas learning management system.  Students will read and explore assigned materials, engage in assignments and quizzes, and take short videos of themselves applying the learning strategies in an early childhood program (their own or another approved). Students are encouraged to take all three courses, but this is not required.


  • $60 enrollment fee (payable upon acceptance into program)
  • $175.75 for student fees (scholarship for T.E.A.C.H. possible)
  • High speed internet/technology related materials (on own)

Prioritized Students

In alignment with the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® NEBRASKA program*, this project will prioritize students with the following characteristics:

  • Individual works in a program that is licensed by Nebraska Child Care Licensing, operates under Rule 11 guidelines (public schools or ESUs), or operates as a Head Start/Early Head Start program
  • Program accepts children using Nebraska Child Care Subsidy support
  • Individual works at least 30 hours/week
  • Individual earns wages of $17.50/hour or less

*current T.E.A.C.H. students are not eligible for this pilot program

The project will also prioritize students:

  • With a current CDA or one year college certificate/diploma
  • Some college or high school diploma/GED
  • With an earned Associate’s degree
  • Who live or work in a high poverty or rural zip code
  • Have worked in the early childhood field three or more years

The application is currently closed.

Collaborating agencies include

Nebraska Department of Education
University of Nebraska Kearney
Buffett Early Childhood Institute
T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood
Updated August 17, 2020 1:45pm