Early Childhood Education

ECE Progression

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.


Due to COVID-19, we will not be able to hold the statewide early childhood education conference this year. The Maine Statewide ECE Conference will return in 2021! The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Education, Head Start Directors, Educare Central Maine, Family Child Care Association of Maine, Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network, and Maine Association for the Education of Young Children are committed to bringing a 2nd annual conference to early childhood educators, leaders, and partners in our state. While we will not be able to gather in Bangor this fall, we are excited for continued collaboration next year. In the meantime we will be in touch about virtual professional learning opportunities being offered in Maine and nationally. For the rest of June and early July, you can access free on demand ECE presentations from NAEYC (https://www.naeyc.org/virtual-institute)