Early Learning in Delaware
Delaware recognizes that families are children's first and most important teachers. Early childhood educators work alongside families to support children from birth through age eight. Delaware develops and promotes programs to ensure qualified professionals provide excellent care during this time and as children transition into the K-12 school system.
Delaware is continuing to strengthen its early learning system. In December 2018, the state was awarded a $4.2 million Preschool Development Grant (PDG B-5) for this work. Delaware's previous five-year early childhood strategic plan, which ended in 2018, prioritized more support and services for its youngest learners and their families. The state is now creating a needs assessment and strategic plan to create an improved early education system.
Services for Families
- Choose a quality early childcare program: Learn more about choosing quality childcare programs in Delaware. Get information on Delaware Stars, the First Access Care childcare referral service, Head Start and more.
- Transition your child to kindergarten: Learn more about registering your child for kindergarten. Find local school district and charter school requirements and timelines. Students must be five years old by August 31 of the current school year to attend kindergarten in Delaware.
- Find special education and developmental support: Find information for families and educators concerned about a child's development. Includes how to qualify for special education or related services in Delaware, information on the state's Child Development Watch program and resources for supporting all students.
- Get family education resources through Parents as Teachers: Find more information on Delaware's Parents as Teachers program, which visits families in their homes to support pregnant mothers as well as children from birth through kindergarten.
- Become an early childhood educator: Work with children from birth through age eight in childcare and school-age settings. Includes training information and requirements for age, education and experience.
- Childcare provider information: Find information for childcare providers, including licensure, requirements, the Delaware Stars rating system and more.
- Delaware Early Learning Survey (DE-ELS): Learn more about the DE-ELS, which looks at each child’s knowledge and skills during the first 30 days of kindergarten. This survey helps determine if a child needs additional support to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
- Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) information: Find more information on Delaware's no-cost child care programs to eligible families. These programs focus on academics, social skills, health and nutrition to better prepare all children for school success.