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Four-Year-Old Kindergarten in Wisconsin

PEC Logo 2018





February 27 - March 1, 2018

Holiday Inn - Stevens Point, WI


2018 PEC Registration


PEC is an Early Childhood Collaborative Event in its 15th year. Through the work of collaborative early childhood planning partners, the theme Building a Foundation of Equity: An Anti-Bias Approach will examine how intentional work utilizing an anti-bias approach promotes positive outcomes for all children in Wisconsin.

A keynote presentation by Julie Olsen Edwards co-author of the book Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves will be presented on Wednesday morning, followed by workshops, networking and facilitated discussion. Thursday morning will focus on Wisconsin specific data and how it can be used to inform practices to equalize outcomes for Wisconsin’s youngest children.

Julie Olsen Edwards
Julie Olsen Edwards

Two pre-conference tracks are available on Tuesday. Nurturing STEM Exploration Outdoors- An Early Childhood Workshop led by Patti Born Selly author of Teaching STEM Outdoors; and Anti-bias Education: Exploring what it means for you, your program and for the children and families you serve led by Ms. Olsen Edwards and Rita Tenorio, a retired Principal of La Escuela Fratney in Milwaukee, also the founder of Rethinking Schools Magazine. Books by the pre-conference presenters will be included in the registration fee.

The goal of the PEC conference is...

to provide opportunities for professionals to learn ways to promote and implement equitable practices in the early care and education field. Participants will examine the principles of anti-bias education, reflect upon their current practices, and collaborate with colleagues to implement practices that promote equitable learning opportunities for all children.

Registration Fees:

Pre-conference day only (2/27) $100, Two-day PEC Conference only (2/28 & 3/1) $200, Three-day Pre-conference and full PEC conference (2/27-3/1) $250.
Costs include: Meals (breakfast and lunch), conference materials and a copy of the pre-conference speaker's book.
Registration deadline: Monday, February 19, 2018

Who should attend?

Early childhood leaders from schools, child care, Head Start, home visiting, and other related programs and services including, but not limited to: principals, 4K coordinators, special education directors, program support teachers, school board members, child care directors, Head Start directors and coordinators, professional development trainers, and community teams. Programs, personnel, and community organizations interested in early childhood education. Teachers, providers, and trainers in environmental education and place based learning. Early Childhood faculty at two- and four-year colleges.


Agenda At A Glance


Additional Information:



Holiday Inn in Stevens Point 

Call the hotel directly at 715-344-0200 to make reservations. 

Guest room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes in effect at the time of check in unless written proof of tax exempt status is provided by attendee.


Credit Options

1 graduate or undergraduate credit from UW La Crosse will be offered. Cost is $110 Registration materials will be available at the conference and payment will be due at that time. Cash, check or credit cards accepted. Syllabus    


Credits Option Registry Credits will be available for sessions attended.


Registration and Conference Contact Information:


Registration: Carolyn Kiefer
Phone: 608-264-9325

Conference: Sherry Kimball
Phone: 608-267-9625 




Research Related to 4K

Does Wisconsin's 4K program positively impact children's development? Yes. Wisconsin does not have data to correlate student performance on statewide tests with past 4K participation. We can, however, explore the impact by reviewing data from the National SWEEP study and from several Wisconsin school districts. See a summary here.

The State of 4K in Wisconsin

More of Wisconsin’s children are enrolled in 4-year-old kindergarten than ever before. Learn more about the demographic trends of 4K by reviewing the 2017 State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Presentation. The presentation includes summary data on 4k enrollment, attendance, suspensions, and retention across race, economic status, disability indicators, and district poverty levels. See how far Wisconsin’s 4K programs have come in the last five years, as well as the areas in which we should continue to focus our efforts to promote high quality early childhood education opportunities for all of Wisconsin’s children.

Impact of Community Approaches

Benefits and Impact of 4K Community Approach Website: The Office of Early Learning is pleased to announce our new website that helps tell the story of what makes 4-year-old kindergarten community approaches (4KCA) so good for children, families, child care, school districts, Head Start, community programs, and the general public. We invite you to read and view the great stories from communities throughout Wisconsin as they share their perceptions of 54 benefits communities commonly realized after implementing 4KCA. In addition to the stories of the benefits, you can find Wisconsin Storyteller Bob Kann’s Storytelling Techniques and other strategies to help frame your own community’s story.

As enrollment in Wisconsin’s 4-year-old kindergarten (4K) grows, interest in measuring 4K’s impact on child development has also increased. A variety of studies the positive impact of these programs on children, society, and the economy: Research on 4YK

Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Start Up Grants

The 2008 state budget began start up grants for school districts wanting to implement 4-year-old kindergarten. The statutes required priority to school districts using community approaches to 4K through partnerships with child care and Head Start. Go to our Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Grants page for more details.

The Unique History of 4-Year-Old Kindergarten in Wisconsin

This policy brief examines the remarkable history of 4-year-old Kindergarten (4K) in Wisconsin. The paper explores key developments, starting with the inclusion of education for 4-year-olds in the 1848 Constitution and the establishment of first private kindergarten in the country in Watertown in 1856, and follows the surge in public education for 4-year-olds in the late 1800s, the decline from 1920-1970, and the resurgence from 1980-2010. The policy brief examines the causes of the rapid growth in the last 15 years and the emergence of the community approach to 4K, and lays out several implications for the future.

Visit the 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Companion Website

You can learn more about Community Approaches to 4K and the Forces for Four-Year-Olds initiative by visiting our Websites. You will find more information including: testimonials, financal guidance, and program evaluation.

Other Information About Four-Year-Old Kindergarten

Lessons Learned from Community Approaches

More and more school districts are taking community approaches to 4-year-old kindergarten by offering the program in an array of settings including schools, childcare, and HeadStart. The following links will help you learn more about these approaches.

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For questions about this information, contact Sherry Kimball (608) 267-9625