There are several reasons that directors and other leaders need to be aware of effective portfolio development strategies. You may have team members on your staff who are pursuing their CDA or other credential that requires them to compile a portfolio to document their experience.  Portfolios are also often used by accrediting agencies to validate that program practices align with accreditation criteria.  Because the process of creating a portfolio is such a valuable professional practice, it is recommended that every teacher and caregiver have one, even if it is not required by an outside agency.

As a leader of a child care program, you are an important resource for employees who are developing professional portfolios. The first thing you should do is ensure that your portfolio is neatly organized and up-to-date. 

Conduct research to find creative examples of how other people have presented their portfolios using online tools. Some of your employees may prefer to work online, while others will be more comfortable creating physical portfolios.

Plan a professional development event that focuses on how to collect portfolio evidence and organize items in a professional manner.  If this is not a strength of yours, utilize an outside training organization.  Provide time during staff meetings for portfolio sharing and feedback sessions. Perhaps the use of portfolio mentors or coaches would be appropriate in your setting.

Help employees recognize activities and situations that would be appropriate examples to use in their portfolios.  If a teacher has developed an excellent lesson plan, provide that feedback and encourage them to take photos of children engaged in the planned activities to add to their portfolio. 

Create a culture of self-reflection.  It is not a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Guide teachers to think back on their experiences and make connections to best practices. Help teachers think critically about their work, successes they have achieved, and opportunities to do things differently in the future. 

Consider providing the materials that teachers will need to compile all of their documentation. Physical portfolios are typically organized in binders or file boxes. Prezi and website development tools are great ways to organize information on a virtual platform. While many are easy to navigate, employees may need support getting accustomed to digital tools. Tell us how you support your employees as they create their own professional portfolios on our Facebook page here

For the main article Creating a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article What Goes into a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Organizing your Portfolio, CLICK HERE