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University of Wisconsin–Madison
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The Wisconsin Idea in Action

Promising Practices from the Early Childhood Excellence Initiative

This online resource provides brief observations and interpretations of child behavior from early care and education programs in Wisconsin, in more than 80 topical areas ranging from pre-reading skills to separation anxiety to learning self-control. The observations were made in programs all across the state, from Eau Claire, to Menominee Tribal Child Care, to Milwaukee. They were an outgrowth of a project funded by the Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development, in which on-site assistance was provided to large child care programs across the state, helping them to dramatically improve their quality in a short time. These brief descriptions of "best practices" are frequently used by teacher trainers.


Because these brief vignettes provide good ideas for early childhood teachers, and explain why good practices work, they are frequently used by teacher trainers and directors to help their staffs improve. The project to improve the quality of early childhood education in Wisconsin really worked. Directly observing the practices of classrooms that received our assistance, versus those who didn’t, we documented significant improvements over a period of just a year or two. This project also conducted the feasibility study that led to Wisconsin’s 5-star rating system for quality of child care programs, which really helps consumers (parents) make better decisions for their children.

Focus Areas

Project Leader

David Riley
Rothermel-Bascom Professor

School or College
School of Human Ecology

This project was last updated on Apr 17, 2019. Do you have an update for this project? Find out how to contribute.