Response to Intervention and Early Childhood

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) endorses and promotes universally designed, evidence-based and developmentally appropriate curriculum and assessment practices as the foundation for Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation in early childhood settings. While RtI began as a model for K-12 education, the DPI believes that the concepts of RtI can also be aligned with four-year-old kindergarten (4K) and our early childhood partners in health, mental health, home visiting, child care, Head Start, and early childhood special education. The Wisconsin RtI framework provides a conceptual model to support and monitor child development and learning across all domains as described in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards, including social-emotional development, language-literacy, and mathematics. When determining screening and on-going assessment tools and procedures, programs are encouraged to reference current established guidelines for early childhood assessment practices. 

The DPI acknowledges the unique circumstances to be considered when applying the Wisconsin RtI framework to early childhood: 

  • To achieve desired outcomes, the nature of young children’s development and learning often dictates a different approach to assessment and teaching than those for older students; 
  • Because areas of child development are highly interrelated and interdependent, curriculum must address all developmental domains and content areas; and 
  • Recognizing learner variability when providing quality learning opportunities and nurturing relationships. Contributes to a significantly diverse population of early learners with a wide range of needs. 

The DPI advises programs to deliver content-rich curriculum with challenging but achievable goals in ways that honor and respect the unique learning needs of young children. Using a play-based curriculum to support a child's learning is important for developing self regulation, as well as promoting language, cognition, and social competence. To this end, the DPI offers these documents that compare RtI implementation in early childhood and K-12 as guidance for the development of effective and appropriate services for the young children of Wisconsin and their families. 

Click here to download the complete booklet, The Wisconsin Model for Response to Intervention: Applications in Early Childhood Settings

Online Resources