Preschool Teacher Professional Development

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  • 0:03 Preschool Professional…
  • 0:39 Professional…
  • 1:04 Important Factors
  • 2:38 Types of Professional…
  • 4:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
Preschool teachers have an increasingly complex and important role in early childhood development. Where do they go to continue developing their professional skills? This lesson takes a look at professional development for preschool teachers.

Preschool Professional Development

Mary loves children and has known she wanted to be a teacher her whole life. The early years are her favorite, so she decided to become a preschool teacher. When she was younger, preschool teachers were often mothers without specific training. However, Mary knows that with today's emphasis on quality preschool programs, she'll not only need to be educated but also continue developing her knowledge.

What types of professional development should she go for? Luckily for her, there are many rich strands to choose from. Let's take a look at the basics of preschool teacher development as well as some important factors and programs for her to consider.

Professional Development Basics

Preschool professional development is a variety of educational opportunities that provide early childhood teachers with knowledge and information necessary to continue improving their teaching practice with young children and their families. Professional development training is typically offered as classes of differing lengths and types: day-long or weekend conferences, online courses, webinars, and/or on-site training.

Important Factors

Mary knows that recent research has shown that children who have quality early childhood experiences do better in school. Therefore, the emphasis on providing strong preschool programs for young children has never been higher. What should she look for when shopping for quality professional development? There are a few key items she should keep her eye out for when it comes to proper training experience.

First, training should be content specific. If Mary's a Montessori teacher, her professional development should focus on practices she'll use in that setting. Similarly, if she teaches two-year-olds, she'll need to complete professional development specific to that age group. A vast difference in development between ages and settings means it's necessary for many different types of professional development.

Second, training should be based on research. Like Mary remembered, at one time, preschool teachers simply provided play opportunities for young children. Today, we know much more about how children grow and develop. To capitalize on our understanding of young children, professional development programs need to use research to drive instruction.

Third, training should include check-ins. When Mary attends a professional development session, she'll be exposed to and learn many new concepts. To make sure she puts these ideas into place correctly, some type of follow-up should be provided. Types of check-ins include a group chat session, an on-site visit by the instructor, or a brief meeting several weeks after the training has taken place.

Now that Mary knows what to look for in professional development offerings, let's take a look at some of the types of professional development she can choose from.

Types of Professional Development

Professional development for preschool teachers typically focuses on one thing: curriculum. This may sound simple, but developing and instructing quality curriculum involves three main strands, including a focus on specific units, working to understanding child development, and effective parent communication.

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