Professional development is often expected to come in the form of formal courses and seminars for professionals to participate in. While courses and seminars are a part of professional development, there are many other ways to gain that knowledge and sharpen your skills. These can include meetings, peer learning, research, feedback circles, and observations. Whether you have been in the child care profession for years or months, professional developmental is required and crucial.
The need for professional development isn’t only required, but is also an important way for child care professionals to stay abreast of current trends in child care. They also provide a new set of skills for child care professionals to use in their classrooms almost immediately. It is important to note that professional development suggestions and mandates do not indicate that staff members are lacking in their abilities. Instead it is an important way to maintain their commitment to their profession and develop their skills. Leadership staff are expected to participate in ongoing professional development and are in an interesting situation where they are able to stay involved in both sides of professional development. Leadership staff will need to complete professional development as per licensing standards each year just as other staff members will, but leadership staff can assist other staff members in their professional development options. Leadership staff should also be cognizant of the time and financial resources required for staff to complete their required training and support them in applying their new knowledge.
Some suggestions for supporting professional development:
Do Your Homework
Staff will often look for guidance in which courses to take, where to take them and how many hours to complete. Leadership staff, especially directors, should be aware of the annual training requirements that are mandated by the Department of Early Learning. If you want your staff to be current on their training, wouldn't it be best for leadership to know the requirements?
Give Them Time
Time is a commodity that isn’t always easy to come by. While it may not be possible to provide paid time for professional development, if there is any possible way to ease the potential for stress that it may cause the attempt will be well received. Keep in mind the extra-curricular requirements that your program may mandate and try to coordinate so that professional development training can be done prior to the end of the year.
Try New Things
Try new professional development options such as peer observations, group discussions, student feedback, and self-observations using video recording equipment. The novelty of these ideas may be enough to pique the interest of staff members initially, but when the results are seen they will appreciate the effort put in.
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