As a parent or caregiver, you want your child to have the best possible start in life. You want to provide them with a solid foundation for success in both schools and beyond. Fortunately, the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Early Childhood Initiatives (OECI) shares your vision and is dedicated to providing every child with access to high-quality early learning opportunities.

One of the ways we are actively fulfilling our mission of providing access to high-quality early learning opportunities to every child is through the implementation of our innovative program, Bridges to School. This program is a result of the collaborative efforts of MPS Community Schools and the OECI, aimed at bridging the gap between early childhood education settings and collaborative Schools. Through Bridges to School, we are creating a strong network of connections and partnerships that empower children and families to succeed. The program offers a wide range of resources, including access to quality education, health care, and community support services, all of which are essential to fostering healthy child development.

At OECI, we understand that a strong early-learning community is the bedrock of a thriving city. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that every child, from birth to three years old, has the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively. 

Investing in Early Learning: The Importance of Community Schools

Collaborative schools are an innovative approach to education that emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships between schools and the community. At OECI, we believe that integrated schools can play a vital role in early learning, providing a strong foundation for children’s future success. By integrating academic, health, and social services, responsive schools can create a holistic learning environment that meets the needs of every child.

Bridges to School MKE: A Collaborative Approach to Early Learning

Our Bridges to School MKE program, a joint effort between MPS Inclusive Schools and OECI, is one of our most remarkable endeavors. It exemplifies the significance of establishing strong connections and partnerships between early childhood education settings and community schools. With a focus on ensuring a smooth transition from early childhood education to elementary school, Bridges to School MKE offers the necessary support to children and families to ensure success.

How Bridges to School Supports Children and Families

At OECI, we strive to provide the best early childhood education opportunities for every child in Milwaukee. Through our Bridges to School program, we are dedicated to supporting children and families by offering a wide range of resources and services that promote healthy child development.

Here’s how our Bridges to School program supports children and families:

  • Building Strong Connections: Bridges to School creates connections and partnerships between early childhood education settings and public schools to ensure better outcomes for children and families.
  • Access to Resources: The program provides access to a wide range of resources, including quality education, healthcare, and community support services.
  • Promoting Child Development: Bridges to School promotes social-emotional development, cognitive growth, and lifelong success by providing a safe and nurturing environment for children.
  • Advocating for Policies: We work within the government to advocate for policies that support early education, ensuring that every child in Milwaukee has access to high-quality early learning opportunities.
  • Supporting Success: Through Bridges to School, we support the success of children and families by providing the resources they need to thrive and succeed in school and life.

The Role of Integrated Schools in Early Childhood Education

Integrated schools are a crucial element in early childhood education, providing an inclusive and diverse learning environment for young children. Numerous studies have shown that children who attend integrated schools tend to have better academic and social outcomes because they are exposed to a broader range of ideas, cultures, and perspectives.

In addition to academic achievement, integrated schools help promote social-emotional development, including empathy, respect, and inclusion, which are fundamental to lifelong success. Children attending these schools learn to value and appreciate differences, creating a more peaceful and harmonious society.


In conclusion, at OECI, we strongly believe in the power of collaborative schools and the importance of early learning for creating a strong foundation for children’s future success. Our Bridges to School program is a testament to our commitment to connecting families and childcare providers with resources that promote healthy child development and lifelong success. By collaborating with MPS Community Schools, the Bridges to School MKE program is actively closing the divide between early childhood education settings and inclusive schools. This initiative is creating a robust network of connections and partnerships that are empowering both children and families to thrive.

We invite you to learn more about our work and how Bridges to School MKE can support your family by contacting Sarah Hernandez, Bridges to School MKE Coordinator, at or 414-519-1583.