North Carolina Early Learning Network (NC-ELN)

The North Carolina Early Learning Network, funded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), provides early learning communities with professional development and technical assistance to support preschool children with disabilities and their families through the vision of DPI's Office of Early Learning:

"Each child is honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life."

3 children huggingThe Early Learning Network promotes the development and successful participation of North Carolina’s preschool-age exceptional children in a broad range of activities and contexts, including their homes, early learning programs, and communities. The Network provides professional development and technical assistance based on guiding principles and values, aligned with the State Performance Plan (SPP) and reported in the Annual Performance Report (APR).  Preschool coordinators have access to multi-tiered levels of support and facilitated cross-sector professional development.

2 children on the monkey bars

Goals of the Early Learning Network:

  • Provide support and training to the NC Preschool Exceptional Children Coordinators.
  • Increase the knowledge, skills, and capacity of early learning communities across the state through evidence-based training and technical assistance.
  • Develop and disseminate evidence and research-based materials.
  • Contribute to the development of state level guidance documents, processes, and training materials.
  • Scale-up multi-tiered systems of support to ensure early childhood learning through program wide implementation.
  • Collaborate among and within agencies to maximize resources.

Early Childhood System in North Carolina

  • Infant Toddler Program provides services and resources for young children (birth-3) with disabilities. 
  • Office of Early Learning (OEL) of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) administers state and federally funded programs for young children including Preschool Exceptional Children, Title I Preschool and the Head Start State Collaboration Office.
  • Exceptional Children Division provides services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to NC children and youth ages 3 – 21 who have disabilities.
  • Developmental Day Center Program (DDC), funded through the State Board of Education, assists in providing special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities who are placed in accredited development day centers by local education agencies.
  • Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE)  regulates child care in the state and collaborates to promote enhanced service delivery of care and education across the state.
  • NC Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) provides statewide oversight of the Smart Start initiative.