One of the proven ways to increase the quality of early childhood programs is by providing focused and continued training for teachers. When you are designing professional development opportunities for teachers in the coming months, consider the following elements.
- What are the specific needs of your teachers? This should include your observations as well as a survey of teachers. Ask them to identify some of the areas where they need additional support.
- How can the topic/theme be followed over a period of time? This provides a way for teachers to be exposed to new ideas and gives time to implement and evaluate what they have done. Professional development works best when extended over a reasonable time frame.
- Select an inspiring and knowledgeable speaker, preferably from outside your region. This can provide well researched information that will support the goals of your program for young children. Often the effective speaker will include information and methods you are already discussing, but a different voice can emphasize what you and others have said.
- Devise a plan to initiate the focus. Do so with a conference, workshop, or seminar where the keynote and small group sessions will focus on the topic. This shared experience sets the direction, and establishes the plan of professional development for your group.
- Determine how this idea can be followed, supported, and evaluated. Select a time frame. For example; 6 months, a year, or longer. Can the main speaker return, meet with teachers later, and/or respond to them using technology?
- Support your teacher’s development. Implement ideas in their classrooms, observe their progress, and provide additional resources, such as books and websites that can be used over the time frame.
Professional development is an important way to support and enrich quality programs for young children. Your dedication and planning will make it happen. We want the best teachers with young children!
Please contact me if you need assistance planning or brainstorming possibilities for your teachers.
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