Planning For Professional Development In Child Care

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Planning forProfessionalDevelopmentin Child CareA Guide toBest Practicesand ResourcesDeveloped by theNorth Carolina Institute forEarly Childhood Professional Developmentin cooperation with theNorth Carolina Division of Child Developmentand theNorth Carolina Partnership for ChildrenOctober, 2001

ContentsAbout the Institute . 1Introduction and Acknowledgements . 2An Overview of Professional Development . 4The Importance of Professional Development . 4The Need for Professional Development Systems . 6Figure 1: Early Childhood Professional Preparation in North Carolina. 7Career Ladders and Career Lattices . 9Figure 2: A Sample “Career Ladder” . 9Figure 3: A Sample “Career Lattice” . 9The Importance of Linkages . 10The Relationship between Professional Development and Regulation . 10Developing an Early Childhood Professional Development Plan . 12Figure 4: Flow Chart for Developing a Professional Development Plan. 12Convening a Community Planning Group . 13Fostering Collaboration . 14Values and Principles . 14Ensuring Ongoing Participation . 15Community Assessment . 15Education and Training . 16Systems Coordination . 16Financing . 18Compensation . 19Community Education and Awareness . 20Figure 5: Vehicles for Increasing Public Awareness . 20Quality Assurance . 21Presenting the Assessment . 22Identifying Benefits and Barriers . 22Figure 6: Benefits of a Professional Development System . 22Figure 7: Barriers to a Professional Development System . 23Gathering Information About Alternative Strategies . 23Creating a Plan . 24Developing Goals . 25Education and Training . 25Compensation Goals. 26Systems Coordination Goals .26Consumer and Public Engagement Goals . 27Quality Assurance Goals . 28Financing Goals . 28Developing Objectives . 28Developing Strategies . 29Figure 8: A Sample Strategies Matrix . 30Planning for Professional Development in Child Care

Implementing the Professional Development Plan . 31Developing An Action Guide . 31Including Evaluation In Your Action Guide . 31Are We Done Yet?. 32Checklist . 33Examples of “Best Practices” Activities . 36Goal Area: Education and Training . 37Goal Area: Compensation . 40Goal Area: Community Education and Awareness . 42Goal Area: Quality Assurance Capacity-Building . 43Resources . 44General Information . 44References on Quality . 44Systems Coordination Sources. 45References on Compensation . 45References on Consumer and Public Engagement . 46Useful Web Sites for Child Care Professional Development . 47Planning for Professional Development in Child Care

About the InstituteThe North Carolina Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development was establishedin 1993 by the North Carolina Division of Child Development (DCD). The Institute is a statelevel advisory group of practitioners, agencies and institutions from throughout the state.The Institute is dedicated to defining and advocating for the implementation of acomprehensive early childhood professional development system that provides supportive,accessible, and individually appropriate education which is linked to compensation in orderto ensure high quality care and education services for children and families.Members of the Institute serve three year terms and include representatives from thefollowing: Child Care Providers: teachers, directors and family child care providers Child Care Resource and Referral Service Agencies Head Start (State Collaboration Office and local agencies) Child Care Commission Interagency Coordinating Council Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services Community Colleges Four Year Institutions of Higher Learning (public and private) North Carolina Cooperative Extension Smart Start (state and local partnerships) T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Project Division of Public Health Department of Public Instruction Division of Child DevelopmentInstitute members serve on at least one of the following task groups: Regulations andPrograms, Public Awareness, Leadership and Mentoring, Professional DevelopmentInfrastructure and Coordination, and Compensation and Education.For more information on the Institute, contact the NCDCD at (919) 662-4499 or visit thewebsite at for Professional Development in Child Care 1

Introduction and AcknowledgmentsThis manual was written for those individuals and organizations who are involved indesigning, coordinating and promoting professional development opportunities for the childcare workforce in their local community.It is particularly designed for use by agencies and individuals participating in Smart Start,especially those working on professional development efforts. However, the approach toprofessional development outlined in this manual is based on the research and experienceof many states and local communities, and should be useful to non-Smart Start initiativesas well.Smart Start was initiated in 1993 to address the developmental needs of preschool childrenin North Carolina and to enable local communities to develop innovative and collaborativestrategies to ensure their children arrive at school healthy and ready to succeed.Smart Start funds are now available in all 100 counties, yet there is still much work left tobe done to meet the needs of working families for high quality early care and education andrelated services. One of the most important components of providing high-quality early careand education services is planning for the education and training of staff. This manual isdesigned to serve as a guide to help local communities in this planning process.Please note: the planning process described in this manualis similar to, but not identical to, that required for developingand submitting a Smart Start strategic plan to the NorthCarolina Partnership for Children (NCPC). Some areas ofoverlap are noted in this manual. For questions aboutstrategic plans, contact NCPC at (919)821-7999.The manual was developed with the help of child care professionals from throughout NorthCarolina and includes: an overview of professional development: what it is, how a professionaldevelopment system can help achieve the goal of high-quality child care, therelationship between professional development and licensing requirements and theconnection between education, compensation, and the quality of care; how to build a professional development plan for a local community or region: whatto include, and how to guide the planning process; examples of plan components; resources available for use in building a plan.2 Planning for Professional Development in Child Care

This manual can be used in a number of ways, depending on your local initiative’s activitiesand how long the collaboration has been in operation. Uses may be: to give collaborators who do not work directly in child care an overview of theimportance of education and training in creating high quality care and educationservices for children; to guide a local professional development committee in building a plan for itsworkforce; to help committees evaluate existing plans and make improvements as needed.The manual contains examples of both best practices inprofessional development and of tools that can be used in theplanning process. Examples are noted by use of the puzzlegraphic at left.AcknowledgmentsMany individuals and organizations have given generously of their time and wisdom tomake this publication a reality. An earlier version of the manual authored by members ofthe Institute provided much of the material, and additional sections were provided by writer/editor Elizabeth A. Nilsen. Among the many others who deserve heartfelt thanks are theBest Practices Committee and the Public Awareness Task Group of the North CarolinaInstitute for Early Childhood Professional Development, and reviewers Peggy Ball, MarshaMunn and members of the Executive Committee of the Institute.Note: in this manual the word “provider” is used to designate all those working in all types of child caresettings, both centers and family child care homes.Additionally, when the terms “child care” or “early care and education” are used, they are intended to beinclusive of child care settings serving young children of all ages, from those caring for infants to thoseserving school-age children. We regret that we have not yet found more precise terminology to reflect thediversity of our communities’ programs.Planning for Professional Development in Child Care 3

An Overview of Professional DevelopmentProfessional development refers to the ongoing, formal preparation that gives child carestaff the knowledge and skills they need to best serve children and families. Well-designedprofessional development includes a broad range of activities and audiences: it benefits providers in all settings, both child care centers and family child carehomes; it responds to the needs of providers at all levels, from entry-level assistants tomulti-site directors; it spans a continuum of depth of knowledge, from short-term workshop-style trainingto college-level education.In this manual, professional development will sometimes be referred to as “education andtraining.” Education is coursework taken at a college or university. As discussed below, thebest quality care is provided by caregivers who have college-level preparation in early careand education. Training is usually designed to deliver a very specific body of knowledge orto teach a specific skill (such as playground safety or first aid). Training should be used asa follow-up to, rather than a substitute for, education.