Are you a direc­tor inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about child­care pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment? Are you seek­ing ways to engage your staff and help them achieve their pro­fes­sion­al goals? Keep reading!

Why is professional development important for early childhood educators?

Pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment refers to train­ing, resources, and tools used to deliv­er knowl­edge and skills that can help edu­ca­tors improve the qual­i­ty and effec­tive­ness of their work. Pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties can improve staff skills, knowl­edge, atti­tudes, and career advance­ment. We cov­er ways to engage staff in and increase access to pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment in our course Staff Devel­op­ment and Moti­va­tion in Child Care.

We use the term staff devel­op­ment to mean the coor­di­nat­ed deliv­ery of pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment to staff. Staff devel­op­ment is most effec­tive when based on the needs of indi­vid­ual staff members. 

Most states require that teach­ers receive train­ing every year (or, in some cas­es, every two or more years). Pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment should be con­sis­tent with your state’s ear­ly learn­ing, teacher com­pe­ten­cy, and licens­ing stan­dards. Ear­ly learn­ing stan­dards are the con­cepts and skills chil­dren need to learn and devel­op between birth and kinder­garten. Teacher com­pe­ten­cy stan­dards are the knowl­edge, skills, and val­ues required of teach­ers in ear­ly child­hood pro­grams. Licens­ing stan­dards are the reg­u­la­tions your facil­i­ty must com­ply with to main­tain its license.

Professional development training topics

Staff pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment can cov­er var­i­ous train­ing top­ics. Exam­ples include

  • new staff orientation;
  • top­ics such as child devel­op­ment, chal­leng­ing behav­ior, spe­cial needs, nutri­tion, etc.;
  • teach­ers’ skill-build­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties (such as imple­ment­ing cur­ricu­lum or con­duct­ing a child assessment);
  • prob­lem-solv­ing skills;
  • com­mu­ni­ca­tion between admin­is­tra­tion and staff;
  • com­mu­ni­ca­tion between staff members;
  • devel­op­ing com­mu­ni­ty partnerships. 

Pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment train­ing comes in var­i­ous for­mats: in-ser­vice train­ing pro­vid­ed by a facility’s direc­tor, team meet­ings, peer sup­port groups, webi­na­rs, con­fer­ence work­shops, adult edu­ca­tion cours­es, col­lege cours­es, and distance–learning cours­es. Make sure you choose a form of train­ing that your licens­ing author­i­ty accepts.

To reach your staff devel­op­ment goals, offer pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment that

  • cov­ers top­ics rel­e­vant to each participant’s par­tic­u­lar needs,
  • is appro­pri­ate for all par­tic­i­pants’ learn­ing styles,
  • stim­u­lates par­tic­i­pants’ cre­ativ­i­ty and enthusiasm,
  • sup­ports par­tic­i­pants’ self-esteem,
  • focus­es on clear­ly defined goals,
  • takes into account par­tic­i­pants’ per­for­mance evaluations,
  • is con­sis­tent with pro­gram per­for­mance stan­dards and goals.

Pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment should be moti­vat­ing and engag­ing. Present all learn­ing activ­i­ties as part of an ongo­ing effort to devel­op the best prac­tices to help chil­dren reach their goals. Mod­el this approach by com­mu­ni­cat­ing the ben­e­fits of con­tin­u­ous learn­ing activities.

Childcare professional development funding

Some states offer fund­ing to teach­ers that cov­ers the expens­es of spe­cif­ic pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment cours­es or oppor­tu­ni­ties. Reach out to your state licen­sor to inquire about fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties or schol­ar­ships. We include con­tact infor­ma­tion for licen­sors at the bot­tom of our state pages.

Learn more!

To learn more about approach­es to coach­ing, strate­gies to improve pro­gram qual­i­ty, and how to increase access to and engage staff in pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, take our course Staff Devel­op­ment and Moti­va­tion in Child Care.

For infor­ma­tion about state train­ing require­ments, reg­istries, and more, vis­it our “Train­ing For My State” blog page or the state pages on our web­site.

Care Courses Contact

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

One response to “Childcare Professional Development”

  1. […] ways to help your staff improve the qual­i­ty and effec­tive­ness of their work. Our blog about why pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment is so impor­tant for ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tors is a great place […]

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