Professional Development to Support Child Development

In this month’s CCEI newsletter, we explored a few essential practices that ECE professionals should implement consistently to support children’s development. Strategies such as engaging in serve-and-return interactions with children may be easy to pick up and integrate into practice with little additional professional development. Other strategies shared in the newsletter might require some intentional professional development planning to effectively implement the strategy.

As the year ends, it is a good time to reflect on how things are going in your program or learning environment to determine what is working for you and what is not. It is also important to think about what is working for the children and what is not. Many providers have shared concerns about the impact COVID-19 has had on the social and emotional development of children, sighting many more behavior concerns for preschoolers than in previous years. This is an example of how children’s ongoing development can be directly influenced by the professional development decisions made in the coming months.

Teachers concerned about behaviors in the classroom are right to be concerned. At the same time, resetting expectations based on the skills the children have today, rather than comparing them to children of the past who did not experience the same disruption, may help address the situation. In this case, retaking positive guidance courses with a different perspective may uncover some new insights.

A teacher recently reported having an a-ha moment while reviewing a positive guidance class. She realized that the chronological age of the children in her care was less important than the skills they had had a chance to develop. She reported that once she shifted her expectations to meet the children where they were, she was able to adjust the strategies she applied in different situations to help children navigate challenging situations.

When you plan your PD for the coming year, consider refreshing your memory about topics related to child development, especially social/emotional development. Circling back on familiar topics, with all of the knowledge and experience you have acquired over the years, can be greatly beneficial to your practice, and ultimately, the children in your care.

Best wishes in 2024!