Media Center

The Media Center, housed at the Early Childhood Training Center in La Vista, is home to over 7,000 items—books, DVDs, and journals—that address subjects such as early childhood care and education, child development, parents and families, children with special needs, language and literacy, guidance, child abuse and neglect, health and nutrition, safety, activities, and other diverse topics. We also have a small collection of children’s books which address issues such as death, divorce, disabilities, and siblings.

Materials can be requested by writing, telephone, fax, e-mail, or in person. When requesting, please include your name, address, phone number with area code and your type of work (home child care, K-3, college professor, occupational therapist, parent, etc.).


Useful Links: 

Media Center Catalog

Independent Study Training Approval Form

Independent Study Note Taking Guide

Guidance in Selecting Independent Study

Independent Study Terms and Conditions

Independent Study Appeal Process Form

Borrowing Policies

If you live within the state of Nebraska and work with young children and their families, or are a parent, you are invited to borrow materials from the Media Center.

The Early Childhood Training Center adheres to the following policies:

  • Patrons may borrow up to three items at a time.
  • All items may be borrowed for a period of three weeks.
  • Materials may be renewed if not requested by another patron.
  • Materials will be sent to you at no cost and will include prepaid return postage. 
  • Notices will be sent for overdue materials. Patrons will be billed for lost or damaged materials. Borrowing privileges will be temporarily suspended until materials have been returned or replaced. It is imperative that dates due be respected. Prompt return of materials is appreciated and helps us to fill requests in a timely manner.
  • Materials can be sent to you or can be picked up. Materials can be reserved for you for a specific date.


OEC Publications and Documents

Publications and Documents

A number of publications are available for purchase or free download from the Office of Early Childhood.

Connecting the World’s Children to Nature: Call to Action, 2008

Connecting the World’s Children to Nature: Call to Action, no charge

Core Competencies

Core knowledge and core competencies are what adults who work with children need to know, understand, and be able to do to support children’s development and school readiness. They provide a broad categorization of knowledge and skills that apply across all roles in the early care and education field. Nebraska’s Core Competencies are voluntary.

Nebraska’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals
Nebraska’s School-Age and Youth Development Core Competencies

Early Childhood Education Grant Report, Ages 3-5

Early Childhood Education Grant Program, Ages 3-5, 2009-2010 State Report, 2011, no charge to download

Early Learning Foundations – Parent Companion to Early Learning Guidelines

Helpful suggestions to provide ways to encourage your child’s growth and development in each of the domains from the Early Learning Guidelines to better prepare them for school.
Early Learning Foundations, English
Early Learning Foundations, Spanish
Order Form

Early Learning Guidelines: Nebraska’s Birth to Five Learning and Development Standards

This exciting new resource is available to assist early childhood caregivers/teachers, parents and other adults with information about supporting the learning and development of young children. (Nebraska Department of Education) $5.00 per copy; no charge to download.
Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines: Nebraska’s Birth to Five Learning and Development Standards, English (2018)
Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines: Nebraska’s Birth to Five Learning and Development Standards, Spanish (2018) Available Soon
Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Kindergarten: Language and Literacy, 2010
Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Kindergarten: Mathematics, 2010 
Order Form: Early Learning Guidelines: Nebraska’s Birth to Five Learning and Development Standards, (2018) Available Soon

First Connections with Families

This booklet contains information about child development, reading to your child, and child health and safety. (Nebraska Department of Education). Single copies are free; 2 or more copies are $1.00 each. No charge to download.
First Connections with Families, English, 2003
First Connections with Families, Spanish, 2003
Order Form: First Connections with Families

Kindergarten Position Statement

Kindergarten for the 21st Century: Kindergarten Position Statement, May 2010, no charge to download.

Kindergarten for the 21st Century: Kindergarten Position Statement, Executive Summary, May 2010, no charge to download.

Nebraska Career Advising Guide

The Nebraska Career Advising Guide was created to help in making educational and career decisions. It offers brief explanations of the options for professional development in the early childhood field in Nebraska. It is for individuals seeking to grow in their own professional skills, as well as for those who advise others. 2010. No charge to download.

Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Study

Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Study, 2005
Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Report Summary, 2005
No charge to download.

Planning the Use of Time in Kindergarten

A brief discussion, including charts, of time-related issues in full- and half-day kindergarten programs. (Nebraska Department of Education)
Download a copy.

The Primary Program: Growing and Learning in the Heartland

A comprehensive 650-page curriculum framework designed to assist local educators in developing challenging learning environments for kindergarten/primary-age children. This publication is no longer available in hard copy, but is available as a PDF download.

Ready for Success: What Families Want to Know about Starting School

A discussion of questions commonly asked about kindergarten. This booklet is especially useful for parents and others interested in best practices in the early years of school.
Order Form
Download a copy

Resource Documents for Practitioners: Functional IFSPs/IEPs

The technical assistance documents listed below can be used in the development of functional, participation-based IFSP/IEP outcomes and goals for young children with disabilities, birth to age five, and their families. Documents were jointly produced by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in June, 2008. No charge to download.

Preamble: Functional Participation-based IFSP/IEP Outcomes/Goals, 2008
Assessments: Functional Participation-based IEP/IEP Outcomes/Goals, 2008
Characteristics of Functional Participation-based IFSP/IEP Outcomes/Goals, 2008
Meetings: Functional Participation-based IFSP/IEP Meetings, 2008
References, 2008



To order copies of Ready for Success or the Early Learning Guidelines, or First Connections with Families, contact:
Tammi Hicken
Nebraska Department of Education
Office of Early Childhood
301 Centennial Mall South, 6th Floor
Lincoln, NE 68509

To order copies of the Core Competencies, contact:
NDE Early Childhood Training Center
6949 S. 110th Street
Omaha, NE 68128

Online Training Opportunities

The following training is hosted through the NDE Digital Learning Center. Start by pre-registering (forms below). Once accepted into the course you will be provided with login info to access/complete training.

First Connections

First Connections is a multifaceted, comprehensive telecommunications project offering education about infants and toddlers to teachers, caregivers, and parents across the state of Nebraska and beyond.

First Connections is designed to make exemplary technology-based training opportunities available to early childhood care and education personnel working with infants and toddlers, including those with special needs, primarily in home-based child care.  The argument for high-quality child care is strengthened by recent research that highlights the importance of early environmental experiences on the developing infant’s brain and ultimately on the child’s overall development.  Specifically, this research stresses the importance of positive responsive caregiver-child interaction on the young child’s cognitive and psychosocial development.

First Connections is available at a cost of $25

Click here for more information and to get pre-registered for First Connections.

School Age Connections

School Age Connections is a comprehensive, interactive, Internet-based set of modules providing information about working with school-age children. The training is designed to assist providers in the development and implementation of school-age programming for before and after school, during non-school days, and during summer vacation. There 3 modules covering a wide range of topics, and each contains a wealth of information, interactive activities, and a review, as well as links to additional resources.

Each module is proctored by an experienced instructor.  The instructor will review the work of each participant and will inform NDE to send a certificate of completion when the module has been satisfactorily completed.  Each module will provide five (5) hours of in-service credit (for Nebraska participants).

School Age Connections is available at a cost of $10.00 per module.

Click here for more information and to get pre-registered for School Age Connections.

Step Up to Quality Orientation

The Step Up to Quality orientation is your first step on the path to quality.

The online orientation is designed to inform participants of the following:

  • The history of Step Up to Quality
  • Program goals, supports and benefits
  • Introduction to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS)
  • An overview of Steps 1-5

The Step Up to Quality online orientation is available at a cost of $5 and provides 1.5 hours of in-service credit.

To pre-register for the online orientation, please complete this form.

Visit the Step Up to Quality website for more information.

Other Online Training Opportunities

The following training is hosted through an outside website (instructions linked below).

WIDA Early Years: Supporting Dual Language Learners

The WIDA Early Years online modules are professional learning resources focused on the unique needs and experiences of multilingual children, ages 2.5 to 5.5 years. Multilingual children, commonly referred to as dual language learners, are children who are developing more than one language. Each self-paced, interactive module provides opportunities for reflection and offers suggestions for applying content to local practice. Users must create their own individual account and register for access. To access the WIDA Early Years online modules, visit The University of Wisconsin-Madison online.

Modules include:

  • Dual Language Learners and their Families
  • WIDA Early English Language Development Standards Framework
  • Dual Language Learners with Disabilities
  • Scaffolding Language Learning
  • Promising Practices

There is no prescribed order to viewing or completing the modules. We encourage users to select modules based on their learning needs. Users that are new to working with multilingual children should begin, however, with the Dual Language Learners and their Families module.

This training is self-paced and free for Nebraska early childhood professionals.

Contact us for additional assistance


If you encounter any technical issues, or have trouble creating your account or registering, please email Matthew Freid at If you have questions about module content, or general questions about WIDA Early Years, please email  Lastly, if you have state-specific questions, please visit the NDE Office of Early Childhood website or contact Linda Bray at


View full list of automatically accepted online training.

Training Opportunities

CLASS™: An observation tool that focuses on the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children.

Coaching: Professionals are trained to support their peers.

Nebraska Early Childhood Pyramid Model for Supporting Social / Emotional Competence (EC-PBIS): Provides resources for implementation of early childhood positive behavior based on the Teaching Pyramid model.

Early Intervention Implementation: Training on services for children with disabilities and state and federal mandates. Contact Linda Bray to set up training.

Early Learning Guidelines: A training series that supports the learning of young children in seven developmental areas.

Environment Rating Scales: A series of workshops related to program quality and language and literacy environments, as well as establishing a cadre of skilled observers who have achieved inter-rater reliability.

First Connections is a multifaceted, comprehensive telecommunications project offering education about infants and toddlers to teachers, caregivers, and parents across the state of Nebraska and beyond.

Getting Down to Business: This four-part series focuses on operating a family child care business.

Inclusive Care/Natural Environments: Training and coaching to support and include children with disabilities in natural and typical early childhood settings. Contact Emily Nash to set up training.

Management Training: A 12-part series that addresses the business and management of child care.

Nature Education: Resources and workshops to promote children’s connection to nature.

Nebraska Early Childhood Coach Training This training is required to contract for all EC coaching initiatives across Nebraska. It will focus on the components of coaching – context, observation, joint planning, action, reflection, and feedback. It is the foundational training for those interested in providing coaching in early childhood settings.

Nebraska Home Visiting Core Practices and Principles: An online training consisting of seven core modules for working with families in the home.

Project PARA: Project PARA is a web-based training program for paraeducators to assist them in developing core knowledge and skills needed for effectively reinforcing classroom instruction. Completing the Nebraska Rule 11/Early Childhood units will earn participants three credit hours towards the 12 hour requirement. This course is offered at no cost. For more information about Project PARA, visit the website: or contact Pete Biaggio at the NDE Office of Special Populations; ; 402-471-4308. For questions regarding registration, contact Marjorie Bisbee at  or call 402-472-1347

Read for Joy: Early language and literacy training for parents and early childhood professionals.

Results Matter-GOLD: Assesses services and measures educational outcomes of young children, birth to five, and their families.

Safe with You: This 4-hour health and safety curriculum consists of training required by state law as well as specific workshops related to health and safety.

Social-Emotional: Nebraska Pyramid Model Coach Training This training is for individuals who have completed Nebraska EC Coach training and wish to be considered for ppossible Pyramid Coach contracts with NDE or Rooted in Relationships.

SpecialCare focuses on the inclusion of children with disabilities in child care settings.

School-Age Connections: The online training is designed to assist providers in the development and implementation of school-age programming for before and after school, during non-school days, and during summer vacation. There 3 modules covering a wide range of topics, and each contains a wealth of information, interactive activities, and a review, as well as links to additional resources.

Early Learning Connection

Early Learning Connection logo

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional Early Learning Connection partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children birth through age eight that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school-age;

  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches;

  • Program quality assessments – Environment Rating Scale (ERS) assessments for early learning;

  • Strategic planning with higher education (2-yr and 4-yr.) and other adult learning organizations;

  • Community engagement and outreach.

Elements of the Early Learning Connection professional development system to support a well-qualified and skilled workforce across a range of programs and services include:

The Early Learning Connection is supported with resources from the federal Child Care and Development Fund, IDEA Part C, IDEA Part B-619 and other public and private funding.



Career Development in Early Childhood Education

Research shows that the more education and training early care and education professionals have, the better the care and education children will receive, and this contributes to more positive short and long-term outcomes for children. Currently, Nebraska requires directors of early childhood programs to have a high school diploma or GED in order to work in licensed early childhood programs. Teachers/assistant teachers in child care centers must be at least nineteen years of age according to state licensing requirements. However, there are a variety of credentials and degree options available in Nebraska that can help prepare individuals to work with young children and their families and increase their earning potential. For anyone considering a career in the early childhood field, plan ahead, talk with others, including: colleagues in the field, coordinators at the Early Childhood Training Center, an academic counselor and the chair of the academic department of the college you plan to enroll in so that you select the career option that will work best for you.

The state of Nebraska has developed a Career Advising Guide. The guide includes information on the various roles in the early childhood field, salary and income information, and options for increasing education. Download the December 2011 Nebraska Early Childhood Career Advising Guide.

In the early childhood care and education field, there is a specialty area called early intervention. People who work in early intervention work with young children from birth to age three with special needs and/or disabilities. The National Center to Improve Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel for Children with Disabilities has produced a short video that provides you with a great overview of what early intervention work encompasses. For best results in viewing this video, you will need a high-speed Internet connection, adequate memory to download the video, and a media viewer, such as Real Player.
Early Intervention Specialists Making a Difference One Step at a Time

The following are some of the training/education options available to you:

Teacher Education Programs:

In-service Clock Hours: Twelve clock hours is the minimum training requirement of Health and Human Services Licensing. (Licensing is required of all center and family child care programs and preschools serving more than 3 children from one family for payment).

Child Development Associate Credential (CDA): The Council for Professional Recognition is a national organization that awards the CDA to early care and education professionals who have demonstrated their skills and competencies in working with young children and their families. This is an entry-level professional credential that recognizes community based-training and/or college credit and experience in early education. There are three areas of specialization in the CDA:

1) Center-based setting: infant/toddler or preschool;
2) Family Child Care Setting, and;
3) Home visitor setting.

This credential is roughly equivalent to one year of college. One of the benefits of the CDA is that it is recognized in many states and can be used as an entry-level credential. It must be renewed every three years. The CDA requires that you keep accurate records of your training hours. A CDA credential may be acquired through an on-site portfolio development process or in combination with some college credit courses. For people interested in pursuing a college degree at some point in time, the college credit option for a CDA would be the preferred method of obtaining the credential.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): Ten clock hours of training in a topic offered by a master’s level trainer. Early Childhood CEUs are issued when training is arranged/brokered through entities which meet requirements of the Council on Professional Recognition in Washington, DC. In Nebraska, the only approved entity currently is the Early Childhood Training Center (ECTC), a statewide professional development project of the Nebraska Department of Education. CEUS are required to renew a Child Development Associate Credential.

Diploma/Certificate Option: Nebraska Community Colleges offer a one-year diploma in early childhood or child development. No credential is attached to this option. The coursework will give students a basic understanding of child development trends, curriculum planning, teacher-family communication, and program models. The number of credit hours required for the certificate varies based upon the college and whether they are on a semester or quarter system. If the college is on a semester system they require about 32-40 credit hours. If the college is on the quarter system they require about 50-75 credit hours.

Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (A.A.S.): The Associate of Applied Science is earned at Nebraska community colleges. The A.A.S. is designed to meet the needs of students wishing to prepare for employment or who are presently employed in the field of early childhood education. The A.A.S. generally requires between 60-65 semester credit hours (110 quarter credit hours), depending on the college, and is focused almost entirely on early childhood or related courses. Most programs include a supervised internship where students have the opportunity to work in the field. A.A.S. degrees typically require between 15-22 semester credit hours (more if quarter credit hours) of general education courses, such as English, speech, history, or psychology. This is the degree option if you plan to seek employment immediately after completion of a two-year program. However, consider how your professional goals may change over time when considering this degree option as many of the credits earned from an A.A.S. degree many not transfer or count should you choose to continue your education to obtain a Bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.

Associate in Science/Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education (A.S. or A.A.): Associate in Science/Arts degree can be earned at Nebraska’s community colleges. An A.S. or A.A. degree requires approximately 61-65 semester credit hours (90 quarter credit hours), with 37-41 credits in general education and approximately 21-36 semester credits of courses related to early education. A.S and A.A. degrees give students the opportunity to work in the field under supervision through an internship program. This is the degree route recommended if you want to transfer your credits to obtain a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. Plan your transfer program with a counselor from the four-year institution you plan to attend.

Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development: This four-year degree is offered by a few of the four-year public and some private colleges and universities. When this major area of study is not linked to a teacher education program, it is not accompanied by a teaching credential. The degree does require general education courses, professional courses, early childhood courses and practicum. Many positions in the field of early care and education do not require state teacher certification. Because this degree currently does not lead to state teacher certification, institutions offering this degree may be in a better position to accept early childhood or education courses in transfer from accredited two-year colleges. Consider your professional goals and the type of employment you plan to pursue when considering this degree program.

Bachelor’s Degree in Education/Early Childhood Education: There are several Bachelor’s degree programs offered through four-year colleges that lead to a teaching certificate. As a general rule, bachelors degree programs require general education courses, professional courses on teaching methods, early childhood courses and related electives. In many teacher education programs, students have professional semesters where they are required to student teach in infant/toddler, preschool, and kindergarten through grade 3 settings under the supervision of a teacher.

Most four year colleges require that you obtain the elementary teaching degree with the early childhood endorsement. The early childhood education endorsement includes 30 semester credit hours in early childhood education.

New to several four year colleges is the early childhood endorsement unified. People with this endorsement may teach infants, toddlers, and children from birth through grade 3 including those with disabilities. This endorsement requires a minimum of 45 semester hours of courses that include early childhood education and special education including curriculum and methodology appropriate for primary grades.

Graduate programs in early childhood are currently available through the three campuses of the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney), Wayne State College, Peru State College, Chadron State College, Concordia University and Doane College.

The Early Childhood Special Education Endorsement is offered by several four year colleges. The endorsement requires 27 graduate semester hours related to Early Childhood Education and Special Education and 100 clock hours of related field experiences. Persons with this endorsement may teach, coordinate or serve as a consultant to programs for infants, toddlers, preprimary and primary aged children who have a range of disabilities, and services to families and other personnel with responsibilities for their care and education.

Teacher Education Programs:

For further information please contact Katie Miller at, 402-557-6889, or 800-89 CHILD.

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.


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

Statewide Initiatives

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