Neural circuits are shaped by experience in early postnatal life. Distinct GABAergic connections within visual cortex determine the timing of the critical period for rewiring ocular dominance to establish visual acuity. We find that maturation of the parvalbumin (PV)-cell network that controls plasticity onset is regulated by a selective re-expression of the embryonic Otx2 homeoprotein. Visual experience promoted the accumulation of non-cell-autonomous Otx2 in PV-cells, and cortical infusion of exogenous Otx2 accelerated both PV-cell development and critical period timing. Conversely, conditional removal of Otx2 from non-PV cells or from the visual pathway abolished plasticity. Thus, the experience-dependent transfer of a homeoprotein may establish the physiological milieu for postnatal plasticity of a neural circuit.