How important is professional development at your workplace? In the early childhood education setting, professional development (PD) plans are essential for educators or administrators looking to further their careers and support their employees’ academic success. Research indicates that positive professional development includes getting feedback on lessons, modeling techniques, and creating enriching classroom content. All of these efforts can result in a positive classroom learning experience.
The Northwest Evaluation Association, a nonprofit specializing in professional development, writes that the best PD plans involve support, accountability, choice, flexibility and incremental learning. After all, early educators need to be able to make modifications in their child care settings based on the needs of the young children they serve. Change, however, in any early education environment involves accountability, which means early educators and administrators should take a communal approach to reflect, receive feedback, and get ideas about their PD plans.
To create an effective PD plan that will benefit your young learners, consider these two ideas:
- Connect instructional goals directly to learning outcomes
It isn’t enough to go through the required subject material and teach fun lessons. To develop a solid PD plan, make sure your goals in the classroom directly translate to the positive learning outcomes of the young children under your care. It’s also wise if these goals relate to learning outcomes and goals of all staff members as well, so that you can share what you learn from PD courses as you take them.
- Make learning practical
Early educators can have all the best tools in the world in their classrooms, but if they aren’t helping children learn and grow, the tools are less effective. It’s important to remember to make learning practical in your classroom. Many of the best PD plans support early educators with strategies and insights they can actually apply in their classrooms.
With these tactics in place and your continued attention to the day-to-day changes in your classroom, your professional development has the potential to excel as you learn and gather thoughts and ideas about what will work best for your career goals while supporting the healthy development of young children.