Professional Resource

Changing Practices In Early Childhood Programs

Feb 16, 2010

Professional development opportunities should allow for new ways and skills to become a part of the vision, systems, policies, and daily life of the organization. Here are some strategies leaders can use to make sure they are effectively pursuing new and innovative ideas.

Leaders of early care and education programs expect professional development to introduce new ideas and teach new skills to their staff. When planning professional development, organizations commonly consider all the aspects of this first goal of professional development including the nature of new strategies and how to support individual staff members as they gain new attitudes and skills and integrate them into their daily routines. However, leaders often neglect the second goal of professional development, which requires that new ways and skills become a part of the vision, systems, policies, and daily life of the organization. If not, many new ideas and innovations fade and are forgotten over time. When leaders strive to accomplish both goals of professional development, children, families, staff members, and organizations reap the benefits.

Strategy #1:

Shared ownership and active involvement from all levels of the organization

Strategy #2:

Understanding that a culture of continuous improvement leads to excellence

Strategy #3:

Significant, reciprocal community collaborations and productive partnerships

Strategy #4:

Time to plan and implement new skills and strategies, to practice, and follow up

Strategy #5:

Administrative support

Strategy #6:

A clear purpose and direction

Excerpted from Knapp-Philo, J., Hindman, J., Stice, K. & Turbiville, V. (2006). Professional development that changes practice and programs: Six successful strategies. Zero to Three (26)3.*

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