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In This Issue
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Professional Development and the Mentor Process

 
Professional development is the process of improving staff skills and competencies needed to produce outstanding educational results for students. Regardless of someone's profession, continued education and hands on training is what makes a true professional. Research is constantly leading to new discoveries, and trends are always changing. A successful professional stays up to date with these changes, and responds accordingly to evolve with a changing workplace.

When it comes to early childhood education, continuing your professional development is even more important. Early childhood instructors and teachers are met with new challenges each year, from changes in technology, to new laws and procedures. Educators who don't actively participate in effective professional development don't improve their skills, and the children in their care are the ones who suffer. While the minimum requirements for early childhood instructors vary from state to state, it's always important to review the basics. For example, all early childcare providers should be certified in first aid. Annual review of these procedures and practices will help you feel confident and prepared to handle a variety of classroom situations.

When people use the term "professional development," they usually mean a formal process such as a conference, seminar, online course, or workshop. However, professional development can also occur in less formal settings such as a discussion with your colleague or learning from your peer. Whether it's a formal or informal relationship with your peer, mentorship is also a great way to participate in positive professional development. Mentoring plays a key role in the development of a highly trained workforce and a culture of improvement. Mentoring helps strengthen teaching skills and shape professional attitudes. These skills and attitudes are the foundation of a program that provides high quality learning experiences for children and youth.

Mentoring is particularly helpful when it occurs as a teacher starts working in a new program. It's easy for new employees to feel isolated and intimidated in a new work environment. When teachers feel connected to others and supported, they are likely to remain in their positions longer. This reduction in turnover helps build team cohesiveness, promotes bonds between teachers and children, and between teachers and families, and boosts the center's reputation of quality. Mentoring can also promote teacher motivation and productivity and raise the overall professionalism of the team.

It's your responsibility to continually learn and grow within your early childhood profession. Just like any other profession, continued professional development training will help you become more effective and more confident in your role. Finally, early childhood providers are dependent on one another. Mentoring brings benefits for mentors and mentees alike, whether on a formal or informal basis, as part of a serious "continuous improvement" philosophy in a high-quality early childhood program.
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What is Professional Development?
Article Courtesy of naeyc.org
 
NAEYC defines professional development as initial preparation and learning experiences designed to improve the knowledge, skills/behaviors, and attitudes/values of the early childhood workforce. This diverse workforce includes center- and school-based early childhood program administrators, teaching staff, and family child care providers, and others. View Article 
  
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     Coaching and Mentoring       
Article Courtesy of psu.edu
 
Effective coaching helps educators become more intentional in their practice, helps facilitate use of best practices, moves educators toward a better understanding of children's overall development and needs, helps educators develop a better understanding of ways to have rich interactions with children, and provides a platform for supporting children's positive outcomes in all developmental areas.  View Article 
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This Month's Trial Course: The Mentoring Process  
 
CCEI offers ADM108: The Mentoring Process: Developing Professionalism from Within as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of November.

This course explores the many aspects of mentoring, from formal to informal relationships that are established between staff members. The course will identify the benefits of mentoring in an early childhood setting and outline a method directors can use to create a mentoring program in their environment.
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