Professional Development for Education Staff

Do you supervise or support ongoing professional development (PD) for your Head Start teachers, home visitors, or family child care providers? Searching for tools to help you develop individualized PD plans with staff? Want access to free online courses for your early childhood education (ECE) staff to earn educational clock hours or continuing education units (CEUs)? Need training materials to help you create and deliver meaningful PD to support effective teaching and home visiting practices? We’ve got resources for you! 

Explore these Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) resources to support professional development implementation for the infant/toddler, preschool, and assistant teachers, home visitors, and family child care providers in your program. All ECLKC pages are translated into Spanish. Select the “Español” button on the top right corner to see the Spanish translation. 

*Some resources require an ECLKC account to log in and access materials. New users can set up a free ECLKC account at any time. 

Featured Resources  

Individualized Professional Development Plans to Support Career Pathways  

This new page outlines the individualized professional development plan (IPDP) process, which is key to supporting your staff’s knowledge and skills for their current role as well as future career choices. You can follow this guide to co-develop IPDPs with staff. This decision tree can help prioritize personal goals. Be inspired by sample IPDPs for various education staff roles and use the template to create or update your IPDP action plan form. Remember to check in with your staff in an ongoing way. This allows you to note their progress and help address any barriers to achieving their IPDP goals. 

Individualized Professional Development (iPD) Portfolio* 

The iPD Portfolio is a learning management system created to support ongoing professional development for staff in Head Start and child care settings. The iPD has free, online courses on child development and practical teaching strategies for infant/toddler staff, preschool staff, and home visitors. Upon successful completion, staff can print certificates to document training in their personnel files. They can also use them to apply for or renew a Child Development Associate (CDA®) credential. Many certificates include CEUs as well. Share this short introductory video with staff to help them learn about the iPD. Help staff access courses to support their PD goals. Courses like the Beginning Teacher or Beginning Home Visitor series can be used to onboard new education staff. Consider developing a community of learners for staff who take the same course so they can reflect on the content together. Find out if your staff can use iPD courses in your state PD system to meet state requirements and add to their state registry profile.   

Pathways to Credentials and Degrees for Infant-Toddler Educators  

This resource-filled Early Educator Central (EEC) website is a one-stop, online portal that links to free or low-cost courses. Find content for infant and toddler teachers and family child care providers, as well as 63 courses for home visitors and family service workers. The Council for Professional Recognition accepts the completion of these modules to meet the training hours for Early Head Start and Head Start home visitor CDA® candidates. EEC also contains resources to help your program create articulation agreements with community partners to support teachers and providers earn their credentials or degrees. Though EEC is specifically designed to support staff working with infants and toddlers, many of the resources can also support preschool staff. 

15-minute In-service Suites 

These resources can support preschool teachers in their effective teaching and assessment practices. Several offer a birth-to-five years old approach and many have content for home visitors. Materials include PowerPoint presentations, trainer notes, handouts, and a video. Learn how the 15-minute in-service suites connect to the domains and dimensions of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®). The 15-minutes suites are organized around the following topics: 

Engaging Interactions and Environments — social-emotional support, managing the classroom, behavior guidance, engaging interactions, and language modeling 

Learning Modules Developed by EarlyEdU® Alliance and Head Start National Centers 

These materials can help you give your education staff learning opportunities in meaningful topics, like child development, positive behavior support, understanding children’s behavior as communication, and responding with families to developmental concerns. Materials include a media-rich PowerPoint presentation, presenter notes, learning activities, and a resource list. You can also share these with their higher education partners to create ECE coursework. The Office of Head Start collaborated with EarlyEdU Alliance to create the following two module series: 

Training Modules to Support the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes of Young Children 

The National Center on Pyramid Model Innovations offers modules and kits for trainers that address the social and emotional needs of young children. These modules have been used nationally to provide training on Pyramid Model practices within various settings. Each module package includes a presentation script, slides, videos, activity descriptions, and handouts. Additionally, modules for Implementing the Pyramid Model in Family Child Care Homes are accessible via Early Educator Central

Inclusion of Children with Disabilities: Training Guide 

These training guides, originally created by SpecialQuest, are designed to strengthen the inclusion of young children with disabilities and their families in programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The training materials can be used in a variety of PD settings. They can also help service providers and parents plan together to increase opportunities for inclusion in their communities. The following four modules each contain a facilitator’s guide, training scripts, handouts, and videos: 

Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities 

Disabilities Services Coordinator Orientation Guide 

Use this guide to help your program strengthen its coordinated approach for children with disabilities and their families. If you have a new disability services coordinator (DSC), this orientation guide provides a foundation for their work. It can also be used as a refresher for a more seasoned DSC. 

Disability Services Coordinator Foundations 

This iPD course presents foundational information to help orient new DSCs to the critical components of their role. The course shares information on the components of a coordinated approach to disabilities services, disability law, engaging with a variety of stakeholders and partners, supporting recruitment and enrollments of children with disabilities, and tracking coordinated approach activities. CEUs are available upon completion.  

Effective Teaching and Home Visiting Practices  

Education managers and coaches help teachers, family child care providers, and home visitors understand the importance of effective practices to support children’s development and learning. Use these resources to help education staff apply content they learned in trainings and ECE courses in their daily practices. 

Program Leader’s Guide to Practice-Based Coaching 

Review considerations when planning for and implementing Practice-Based Coaching (PBC) as a part of a program’s coordinated approach to professional development. The guide also includes resources for making a coaching program successful and sustainable.  

Head Start Coaching Companion* 

The Coaching Companion is a video-sharing and feedback application for coaches, coachees, and peer-coaching teams. It helps them work together between coach visits or from a distance. They can share video files, ask questions, exchange feedback, and develop individualized coaching plans that support quality teaching practices and positive outcomes for young children. The Coaching Companion aligns with PBC. Use this guide for step-by-step instructions to enter goals, action steps, questions, and comments, as well as how to upload,tag videos and use other features. 

Techniques for Improving Instructional Support 

Education managers can review this three-part video series to explore strategies and resources to help education staff improve their instructional support and effective teaching practices. Use these resources and video clips to help staff use their adult-child interactions to support higher-order thinking and language skills. Review the Effective Practice Guides with your staff so they can increase what they know, see, and do to effectively support children's growth and development across the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework domains. 

Home Visitor Supervisor’s Handbook 

This guide can help home visitor supervisors ensure quality home visiting and group socialization services. It provides information about the home-based option, strategies for best practices, video examples for reflection, and resources. It references the Home Visitor’s Online Handbook to show the connection between what home visitors are expected to know and do and your role and responsibilities as a supervisor. 

Related Resources 

Head Start Staff Qualifications  

Do you need to know more about the educational and competency requirements for your education staff? This page has briefs for each staff role, including education and disability services managers, infant/toddler and preschool teachers, preschool assistant teachers, home visitors, family child care providers, and child development specialists. Each brief outlines the educational requirements and details a three-step process to determine a credential or degree equivalency. For staff in process of getting their credentials or degrees, use their IPDPs to document the specific steps and timelines to help make sure they get their qualifications in a timely manner. 

2023 CDA Webinar Series  

Do you or your staff need to learn more about the credentialing process? The Council for Professional Recognition is offering a series of free webinars that address various parts of the process like an overview of “Prepare, Apply, and Demonstrate” and the exam and verification visit. One webinar addresses the CDA credentialing process for home visitors. They also have webinars on special accommodations for the exam and applying in another language. Many of the events are offered in English and Spanish. 

Active Supervision  

Consider ways to help your staff use active supervision strategies to promote a safe environment and prevent injuries in young children. You can keep children safe by teaching your staff how to look, listen, and engage. Active supervision strategies help ensure that children of all ages explore their environments safely. It requires focused attention and intentional observation at all times. 

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Send your questions and comments to the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning at [email protected] or (toll-free) 844-261-3752. 


Office of Child Care 
Administration for Children and Families 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Mary E. Switzer Building, Fourth Floor, MS 4425 
330 C Street, S.W. 
Washington, DC  20201 
General office number: (202) 690-6782 
Fax: (202) 690-5600 
General email: [email protected]