Goals of an Effective PD System for ECE

An early childhood professional development system (ECPD) is a comprehensive approach to providing professional development opportunities. When an effective ECPD system has been built:

  • Vision exists to serve all those working with children in all settings serving children birth to twelve.
  • Core knowledge is delineated, a set of information and skills that all providers need to know is developed, and education and training is offered to make sure that this entire body of knowledge is transmitted.
  • Requirements and incentives for providers to pursue professional development opportunities are clear.
  • A continuum of education and training for all providers, from entry-level to experienced, exists.
  • A system is in place to make sure that the education and training are of high quality.
  • A process is developed to assess what education and training providers in a community need;
  • Information about education and training opportunities is widely available.
  • Information about what opportunities providers have already pursued is available for monitoring and planning purposes.
  • Education and training opportunities are offered at times, in places and in languages and formats providers can successfully access.
  • Increased knowledge and competence are assessed and rewarded by increasing compensation.
  • Education and training are well-funded so that providers are able to attend, regardless of personal financial situations.

In addition, a well-drawn system builds on base education and articulates prior learning (education and training) into the professional development pathway for the individual; supporting forward progress toward personal education goals without redundancy and continuing education is provided by highly qualified staff.

  • Qualified and well-compensated professionals are essential to ensuring high-quality early childhood education programs.
  • Frontline professional development support personnel need the latest research, strategies and tools to support the provision of accessible, affordable professional development options that meet the needs of the workforce
  • Systems need a cost efficient mechanism to inform the use of resources, support federal and state mandates for higher levels of professional development and access comprehensive workforce data.
  • State policies and financing of the professional development system have a significant impact on the recruitment, quality, and retention of early childhood professionals.
  • Policymakers must be informed to support intentional, evidence-based and financed systems of professional development for these professionals is critical to ensuring that children have high-quality early development and learning experiences.

Why It Matters

Why is a strong early childhood professional development system important? Over the last two decades there has been increasing interest in learning about the experiences of children in early care and education settings: what settings are good and how early care and education influences later school performance and behavioral patterns.

In particular, we have learned a great deal in recent years about the benefits and cost of high-quality early care and education services, and how to improve programs to meet the needs of all children. This and the evidence about the impact of a teacher’s education has increased the need to shift from scattershot training to intentional forms of ongoing education and professional development to build, grow and retain a high qualified workforce.

Well-designed professional development includes a broad range of activities and audiences:

  • it benefits providers in all settings;
  • it responds to the needs of Early Educators at all levels, from entry-level assistants to multi-site administrators;
  • it spans a continuum of information and format, from short-term workshop-style training┬áto college-level education to continuing education;
  • it is focused on services that are provided to children ages birth to twelve in early care and education and school age settings.
  • it benefits providers in all settings;
  • it responds to the needs of Early Educators at all levels, from entry-level assistants to multi-site administrators;
  • it spans a continuum of information and format, from short-term workshop-style training┬áto college-level education to continuing education.
  • it is focused on services that are provided to children ages birth to twelve in early care and education and school age settings.

Professional development, in this context, refers to a combination of education and continuing education via college courses, continuing education units, conferences and professional forums as well as workshops.

A quality workforce matters!

THE NC APPROACH to an Early Childhood Professional Development System

In NC, the early childhood professional development (ECPD) system is composed of many partners working together to weave a network of services based on identified needs and funding criterion.

©AWS - 2010 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 info@ncicdp.org