Early childhood, the years from birth through age eight, is a critical period in life. During these years, growth and development happen at a faster pace than at any other time.
Early childhood education includes all the relationships and settings that nurture every part of a child: family, friends, caregivers, and teachers. The interactions that occur have tremendous potential to positively or negatively influence a child’s health, physical growth, language development, knowledge of the world, and social and emotional development.
Maine DOE’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) staff promote children’s learning by offering information and resources to support public preschool and Head Start teachers and administrators involved in educating Maine’s young learners. The ECE staff provide guidance and tools to increase access to high-quality public preschool and Head Start; strengthen and align instruction, assessment, and curriculum to established standards; support the professional development of early childhood professionals in public preschools and Head Start; assist families in supporting their child's learning; and inform policy, planning, and research-based practice.