Program Quality, Service Integration, Access, and Expansion
Nebraska’s Preschool Development Renewal Grant, Birth to Five Years will be utilized to improve the overall quality of early childhood programs and services in the state; to provide increased health, social, and emotional supports; to offer increased access to quality programs and to develop new programs; and to build sustainable business models for high quality Early Child Care Education. Building off of the original Preschool Development Grant, expanded efforts include, but are not limited to:
- Researching, developing, and implementing evidence-based practices designed to include all children, with a particular focus on at-risk children with disabilities, special health care needs, developmental needs, or who are barred access to high quality care because of economic or language-based circumstances;
- Building more integrated connections between Early Child Care systems and promoting greater collaborative professional development for early childhood providers;
- Improving and offering increased access to health, developmental, social-emotional, and other learning opportunities for children birth through five;
- Providing Early Childhood Educators supports and resources to maintain the emotional health necessary to offering quality services and maintaining the longevity of the workforce;
- Aligning standards, curriculum, and assessment, to build a more measurable system of child outcomes across the state; and
- Strengthening systems needed for data sharing and use, monitoring and quality improvement, accountability, effective governance, communication, and decision making.
Specific Activities and Organizational Leads
- Community Assessment Tool (CAT) Development:
Stakeholder expertise will be utilized to learn how to better share data across systems to provide information for the public and other stakeholders about existing programs and services across school districts, child welfare agencies, and community programs. Stakeholder insights will help identify data needed from birth to kindergarten. This data will be incorporated into a Community Assessment Tool for use in planning and targeting service delivery improvements across communities.
Organizational Lead: Nebraska Department of Education – Early Childhood Data Coalition (ECDC)
- Family Childcare Landscape Study:
A study to review financial stability, quality, provider characteristic, professional development opportunities, and other essential questions derived from the Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan. The study will focus on hearing directly from family child care providers about their experiences and preferences to help them improve quality, including accreditation and facilities. The study will include quantitative data from the Needs Assessment and Qualitative information from focus groups with four types of Family Childcare Home settings.
Organizational Lead: UNMC – Munroe Meier Institute
- Step Up to Quality Revisions:
Information from the Needs Assessment will be used to revise Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) criteria as appropriate, and the review will include a focus on whether any changes to SUTQ would align more tightly with the goals of the strategic plan, and support providers to engage more effectively with families to encourage their engagement in child development. Proposed revisions will take into account fairness between family child-care and center-based providers.
Organizational Lead: Nebraska Department of Education – Office of Early Childhood