- Cama-i, quyana tailuci!
- (Central Yup’ik)
- "Greetings, thank you for coming!"
Welcome to the Early Learning Programs Page
DEED provides support to the early learning community that serves children ages 3-5 years of age. DEED does this through hosting the pre-elementary approval to operate system, the Alaska Developmental Profile assessment for children entering kindergarten, AK CLIMBS assessments, and through administering grants to pre-elementary programs in public schools and non-profit partners.
As defined by Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Regulations, pre-elementary schools are primarily designed to prepare 3-5 year old children for elementary school and are operated by a school district that regularly serves a group of five or more children or operated by a Head Start agency as defined in 42 U.S.C. 9852c.
Pre-Elementary School Requirements
Programs that meet the abovementioned description must:
- Complete an initial or renewal application for approval to operate [4 AAC 60.036]
- Implement the Early Learning Guidelines and conduct appropriate assessments for each child on all domains [4 AAC 60.170(a)]
- Submit an end-of-the-year report to DEED annually by June 30 at Pre-Elementary Approval to Operate End-of-Year Report [4 AAC 60.170(b)]
School district pre-elementary programs must also assure that:
- All teachers employed by the school district hold valid teacher certificates [4 AAC 12.300]
- All para-professionals employed by the school district meet the requirements outlined in 4 AAC 04.220
For more information about Pre-Elementary Approval to Operate, please contact Kristen Spencer at (907) 465-4862.
Pre-Elementary School District Grants
Alaska Pre-Elementary Grants promote school readiness and positive outcomes for participating children. Information is gathered from funded programs to inform the longer-term implementation of accessible, affordable, mixed delivery, and high-quality early care and education. Alaska Pre-Elementary Grants are awarded to Alaska’s school districts. The following school districts were awarded funds for the 2019-2020 School Year:
- Alaska Gateway
- Aleutians East Borough
- Bering Strait
- Bristol Bay Borough
- Chatham Schools
- Chugach Schools
- Denali Borough
- Fairbanks North Star Borough
- Juneau Borough
- Kake City
- Kenai Peninsula Borough
- Kodiak Island Borough
- Lake and Peninsula Borough
- Lower Kuskokwim
- Mat-Su Borough
- Northwest Arctic Borough
- Sitka Borough
- Southeast Island
- Southwest Region
- Valdez City
- Yukon Flats
For questions about pre-elementary grants, please contact Kristen Spencer at (907) 465-4862.
Head Start Pre-Elementary Programs
Head Start Program Grants
There are 15 Head Start Programs serving 3-5 year old children in the classroom setting in Alaska. DEED provides funding to those programs through and equitable funding formula. The programs receiving these funds include:
Aleutian Pribilof Indian Association
Association of Village Council Presidents
Bristol Bay Native Association
CCS Early Learning
Central Council of Tlingit and Haida
Cook Inlet Native Head Start
Fairbanks Native Association
Kenaitze Indian Tribe
Metlakatla Indian Community
Tanana Chiefs Conference
Head Start Collaboration Grant
DEED houses the Alaska Head Start Collaboration Office. The Head Start Collaboration Office facilitates partnerships between Head Start agencies and state entities who provide services that children from low-income families.
The following are resources for learning more about Head Start in Alaska:
For more information about the Head Start Collaboration and Program Grants, please contact Supanika Ackerman at (907) 465-8707.
Early Learning Assessments
My Teaching Strategies (MTS) powered by GOLD® is an observation-based assessment tool available to all Alaskan Pre-Elementary Programs. It is in alignment with Alaska’s Early Learning Guidelines. Pre-Elementary Grantees use this assessment tool, which both informs the program about each child’s growth as well as contributing data to inform and improve services to young children in Alaska.
Alaska Developmental Profile (ADP)
The ADP is Alaska’s Kindergarten Entrance Assessment. It is an observation-based assessment tool used to identify, record, and summarize the skills and behaviors students demonstrate at the beginning of their kindergarten year. DEED releases an annual report with this information.
For more information about Early Learning Assessments, please contact Kristen Spencer at (907) 465-4862.
Early Childhood Programs
Alaska Early Childhood Coordinating Council
The Alaska Early Childhood Coordinating Council (AECCC) promotes positive development, improved health outcomes, and school readiness for children prenatal through age eight. The AECCC is co-chaired by the commissioners of the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Education and Early Development and members include , early childhood state staff, non-profit staff, trbial staff, parents, and early childhood educators. The council meets quarterly. For more information, please go to the Alaska Early Childhood Coordinating Council (AECCC) website.
Best Beginnings is a public-private partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed.
Federal Preschool Development Grant (PDG)
DEED received funds for this grant to conduct a needs assessment for Alaska’s early learning system Once obtained, information from the needs assessment will be used to create a strategic plan for improving the current early learning system. In addition, funding may be used for one or more of five activities outlined on Alaska’s PDG webpage.
Parents as Teachers (PAT)
Parents as Teachers is a collaboration with Department of Health & Social Services Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program that provides support for early learners (birth to 5) by empowering caregivers through personal and group visits.
For more information about PAT, contact: Joanne Singleton at (907) 269-3430.