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About the Office of Early Learning


The Mission of the Office of Early Learning is to ensure that all children enter school ready to succeed.



Sherry W. Kimball, Early Childhood Consultant


Guiding Principles

The Principles of the Office of Early Learning align with the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council




--Our primary focus is on the best interests of Wisconsin’s children, whose early years are crucial to their success.



--Parents and other primary caregivers are the key decision makers, teachers, and advocates for their children.



--Communities must provide integrated quality services to ensure children’s access to quality education, physical and mental health services, and family support.



--Public, private, and government entities share the responsibility for implementing comprehensive systems.


Professional Development

--Quality professional development opportunities support a skilled and stable workforce.



--Adequate and equitable financing, derived from multiple funding sources, supports comprehensive and continuous early childhood services.


Public Policy

--Wisconsin public policy should support blended funding streams to create comprehensive systems.


Why create an Office of Early Learning?

“What currently exists is not a system at all, but a chaotic assortment of fragmented or unevenly available public and private programs supported by categorical funding streams, many of which would be far more effective if intentionally linked as part of a coherent system of early childhood services.”

— Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters," 2010

There are many quality early learning programs and services throughout Wisconsin. DPI needed a mechanism for collaboration and partnership for all stakeholders. The Office of Early Learning was created in January, 2012.


The purpose of the Office of Early Learning is to:


  • Work with our early learning community partners toward a common vision for defining successful early learning.
  • Increase awareness of the guiding principles of early childhood standards and the need for an aligned system of services delivery.
  • Leverage the multiple funding sources through increased collaboration and partnership.
  • Enhance partnerships within and outside of the agency.
  • Increase professional development for early childhood providers.
  • Expand the K-12 vision to include a strong PreK- grade 3 connection.



The Office of Early Learning is part of the Teaching and Learning Team in the Division for Academic Excellence at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. With the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) spanning birth through grade 1, and the goal to expand the State Standards to include WMELS, it was logical that EC staff and the standards for those students be situated among the other content standards.


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