Wisconsin's Opportunity to Transform Early Care and Education

cartoon characters of adults and children

Información en español

Wisconsin was recently awarded a Preschool  Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B-5) Renewal, totaling $30 million over the next three years. The PDG B-5 Renewal Grant is based on the strategic plan developed by DCF, the Department of Public Instruction, and other partners, and includes feedback and guidance from the department’s early care and education stakeholders. Read the press release for complete details. Read our publication titled Doing What's Best for Our Kids for an update on PDG activities January 2021-June 2022.

The department was previously awarded a one-year PDG B-5 Planning Grant to complete a needs assessment and a strategic plan to improve our early childhood state system. The grant focused on the following activities:

  • Attracting and retaining early childhood education professionals
  • Empowering families to make the best choices for their children
  • Building regional networks of support
  • Increasing overall quality of early childhood programs

Our Vision

By 2023, all Wisconsin families will have access to high-quality, affordable, local early care and education opportunities. By working together – intentionally aligning and improving how we support and serve our youngest children and families – we will help every child succeed and help Wisconsin thrive.

Overview video

Why invest in early care and education?

Governor Evers believes “what’s best for Wisconsin’s kids is what’s best for our state.” To succeed, we need to increase access and quality of early care and education across the state. Access to quality early care and education is not just a Wisconsin problem – states across the nation are struggling with recruiting and retaining early childhood professionals, maintaining affordability for all families, and improving quality standards. Trusted, quality and affordable programs allow parents to fully participate in the workforce and are an investment in families, communities, and the economy.

Celebrate Early Care and Education

Strong ECE, Strong Communities

The care and learning opportunities children experience in their first five years are important for building a healthy brain and lifelong skills.

We all have a role to play in strengthening Wisconsin’s kids. When we do, we help make out communities stronger, too. Learn how quality early childhood education benefits you.

Celebrate ECE

Early care and education professionals are making a huge difference across Wisconsin.

Use a simple form to send a note of thanks to your child care educator, or an educator who inspires you.

Nominate an early care educator to be featured on the website! Send their name and contact info to wipdg@wisconsin.gov.

What activities will be completed during the grant period?

Systemic and sustainable structure

Several new structures will allow Wisconsin to incorporate ideas from across the state and across various interest groups. Those include:

  • The Leadership Council on Early Years (LCEY), comprised of state agency heads
  • The Interagency Cooperative on Early Years (ICEY), comprised of subject area experts who can connect dots across state agencies
  • The Parent/Caregiver Equity Advisory Council (PCEAC), comprised of parents, ECE teachers, providers and other diverse stakeholders who represent cultural, linguistic, and family perspectives
  • Regional Workgroups, comprised of local stakeholders who represent various community perspectives

Needs assessment

The focus of this needs assessment is to uncover WI’s birth to five early care and education quality, affordability, accessibility, and workforce measures, needs, and challenges in a comprehensive, equity-focused manner for our most vulnerable, underserved, and rural populations. Specific activities include:

  • Holding regional listening sessions and focus groups to solicit stakeholder input across the state
  • Interviewing and surveying critical stakeholders, families, providers, businesses, and community members, to better understand barriers and solutions

Strategic plan

The final plan will address how to increase the number of children participating in high-quality early childhood programs and prepared to successfully transition to kindergarten, and metrics to measure progress. Specific activities include:

  • Drafting a strategic plan and soliciting feedback through regional feedback sessions
  • Launching a Stakeholder Engagement Campaign to generate strategic plan feedback
  • Hosting a Workforce Summit to connect the dots across early care and education and workforce development

Technical assistance and local investment

To achieve the additional grant areas (expanding parental knowledge and choice, sharing best practices, and improving overall quality), Wisconsin will complete the following activities:

Comments? Questions? Email wipdg@wisconsin.gov