Paving the Way for Quality Child Care Through Professional Development and Training

As I look around at my co-workers, I see a wealth of knowledge and experience. Despite our diverse backgrounds, our love for children unites us. We have seen many fads in the early childhood field come and go. However, one essential component remains consistent: the need for training.

Why Child Care Providers Should Enroll in Virginia Quality

There has been a shift over the years based on research and best practices. Child care workers who attend trainings for their profession are more likely to apply the new information afterwards when provided coaching or Technical Assistance. Many child care providers across Central Virginia are choosing to gain more knowledge in best practices and early care and education. These teachers do so by enrolling in Virginia Quality. Virginia Quality is Virginia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. ChildSavers is the coordinator of this program for Central Virginia.

Virginia Quality offers an innovative professional development model. Aside from fee-based professional development offered to the community, child care providers enrolled in Virginia Quality have the luxury of participating in free monthly workshops. Additionally, providers can participate in learning communities and receive technical assistance and coaching that will help them implement what is learned in trainings and learning communities. They can also enroll in classes to help them earn their Child Development Associates (CDA) certificate. Participating in Virginia Quality and accessing all of the wonderful resources are free to programs that enroll.

Virginia Quality assists child care providers in reaching higher levels of quality care. They attain these higher levels of quality by enrolling in training opportunities. These opportunities increase their knowledge of early child development. They also learn about healthy activities for children and the importance of strong, nurturing adult relationships with children. Child care providers also gain knowledge of how the environment sets the stage for early learning.

Training for High Quality Early Child Care

Early child care and education sets the foundation for future learning. When you think of your preschool or infant caregivers, do you think of them as teachers? You should! They are every bit the educators as the teachers your child will have in school. However, just as schoolteachers must train and learn to provide a well-rounded education to your children, so too should early care providers.

High quality interactions coupled with trained teachers creates environments where children’s school readiness is increased. It also helps build resiliency in children to counteract future trauma or crisis that may arise. Upon completion of the quality training, participants have access to Technical Assistance services. This is an ongoing, follow-up service. The Technical Assistants are specialists in early child care and education. They are available to deepen the understanding of the information provided in the trainings. It offers one-on-one interactions and a deeper dive into a subject that will help child care programs truly sharpen their skills. If a child care provider would like to increase their education beyond training and further hone their skills, they can also earn a CDA.

The Benefits of Earning a CDA

Although a major offering for Virginia Quality participants is the Child Development Associates (CDA) Certificate program, anyone can enroll in CDA and it is very affordable at $20 per month/module. Students complete 120 hours of study and pass the CDA observation and exam. All 50 states recognize the credential. The CDA credential helps students advance their careers and even helps increase compensation for the individual. Students learn about safety and health, the learning environment, physical and cognitive development, and building communication skills. Additionally, students learn about creativity, self- help, social development as well as guidance, working with families, program management, and professionalism. Each of these learning areas informs the early childhood workforce to help guide children toward school readiness.

Early Child Care Providers Help Our Children Be Successful

As trainers we have the wonderful opportunity to see when teachers have an “Ah Ha!” moment. As adult learners, these dedicated teachers bring valuable expertise to the classroom. One of our students recently said, “I am so thankful that this program is available and I am grateful for the coaching and mentoring provided.” Students like this make our work worthwhile. When our students leave, we know they are taking new knowledge with them to provide healthy, safe learning environments for our youngest community members.

Thanks to Virginia Quality, child care providers are consistently reaching their goals and becoming empowered. These early teachers lead our communities’ children through a nurturing and safe environment. This is why training and professional development is so important. A nurtured and supported workforce will continue to fortify the early childhood field and our future leaders. These women and men pave the way for the success of our children and the economic health of our communities. If you have a child care provider, tell them about these programs if they are looking for an opportunity to expand and grow their knowledge.

Sources: Coaching and Mentoring-Building bridges to best practice

Authors:

  • Cybil Faulks-Brown Child Development Services Supervisor – VA Quality Coordinator
  • Cindy Kern, Child Development Services Coordinator – Child Development Associates Credential (CDA)
  • Betty Garrett, Child Development Program Specialist – VA Quality Regional Rater and Coach
  • Angela Comer, Child Development Program Specialist – VA Quality Technical Assistance Specialist for CLASS

 

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