Planning for Professional Development ideas is a must for us in the field. It is the only way to stay current in the field as well as bring the benefits of what research has shown us to the development of the children in our care.
Your state may require a specific number of hours of training per year. Or not. YOU should require it of yourself as a professional in the field.
But, where to start? Here I share some of my favorite places to go and books to read for Professional Development!
Are your annual trainings chosen for you by Administration?
Are you able to give input to the areas you'd like to grow in?
Do you have an annual review that includes a Professional Development Plan?
Find out what your requirements are.
Determine YOUR professional goals.
Do you feel weak in the areas of math or science?
Or, do you LOVE math and science and want to learn more about how to provide developmentally appropriate experiences to your preschoolers?
Do you want to learn more about S.T.E.M.?
Do you want to learn more about puppets in the classroom?
Make a list of what you'd like to focus on. This will make finding a matching training easier for you!
Keep track of your trainings throughout the year as well! You can do that using my free Workshop Log!
Let's look at what we can learn through training and the types of trainings available.
The purpose of any professional development idea is to help you to gain current knowledge in the early childhood field. New studies happen all the time in the field of early childhood education and learning about them will help you stay on top of your preschool game!
When searching for professional development, be sure you are looking at the philosophy of the content. The professional development ideas do not necessarily need to match YOUR preschool philosophy. It's important for us to know what is out there.
For example, I have a developmental, play-based, hands-on, non-worksheet philosophy.
Reading articles and books on academically based preschool programs will still benefit me. I will learn what is happening in the field, what the studies show about this type of program and help me to be better educated on how to advocate for a hands-on program.
When searching for professional development, look for programs that will help you to take what you are learning from that training and put it into action in the classroom.
Also, look for information that helps you to have a positive impact on your preschoolers as well as a postive impact on your own learning!
There are so many! Here are some to look for.
Does your program offer in-house training throughout the year? ATTEND THEM! If they aren't offered, ask if administration might consider holding them!
Check with other local programs that serve the same ages. You may be able to join in their trainings.
Put together a series of articles related to an area you want to grow in.
After reading them, write a summary of what you learned and at least 3 ways you will put this knowledge to use in your classroom.
Some of my favorite resources are:
Early Childhood News. They have a huge selection of articles!
NAEYC pubishes 2 of my favorite magazines. I look forward to each edition of these publications:
Find a book in the area you want to grow in and read it! There are so many books out there just waiting to be devoured and put into action by preschool teachers!
Set up a reading plan for yourself such as:
Read one chapter a week. Discuss what you've learned with coworkers. Rinse and repeat!
Even better, read a book at the same time as a co-worker and discuss together each week.
Agree to take 1 idea from the chapter you each read and put it into practice for the next week.
Meet together the following week and move on to the next chapter.
Here are my favorites for training:
Many local associations such as NAEYC, AEYC for your state, etc. as well as hospitals offer many trainings throughout the year.
Check you local hospital's website for trainings or speakers coming soon. I have attended trainings on topics such as Airborne Pathogens and AIDS in young children. I've found trainings run by Occupational Therapists who offered awesome ideas to use in the classroom- all at the local hospital. (I also recieved certificates of attendance from the presenters).
There are many online programs that provide in-service hours for child care training.
I offer two individual online preschool workshops (links above) that may also qualify for in-service hours in your state. Each workshop is a 4 hour workshop. I do offer a certficate of completion once all activities are submitted. Click here to learn more about my workshops.
I have taken the Sensory Play workshop from Circle of Ideas and really enjoyed it. In addition, Christine Moore (owner of Circle of Ideas) has added so many more trainings! She offers different hour options for each workshop as well.
I have taken several of these trainings over the years as well. They also have trainings to help preschool directors obtain the professional development hours you need.
Remember that you can only grow in the field and be effective in the field as long as you are actively learning in the field. You will never know "everything there is to know" about preschoolers or math or dramatic play.
There are many people with many creative ideas out there. Don't become stale. Don't think you've learned it all (especially if you've been in the field for any amount of time). You don't do you or the children in your care any benefit by remaining stagnant in your knowledge!