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Professional Development

Dear Debi,
I plan to enroll in a class for child care providers but I keep putting it off. I donít like classroom environments and Iím a little nervous. Can you tell me what I should expect from taking this class?
Russell, Los Angeles, CA
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Learn about how kids develop
  • Check with local R&Rs for courses on professional development
  • Professional development will make your job easier
Expert Advice
Anna Gallegos
Anna Gallegos
LA Conservation Corps, Early Childhood Educator
Courses, conferences and workshops are important for providers because it makes them aware of the resources they can find in the community for them and the children in their care. Workshops are not only good for the providers professionally, but also educationally.

We often think of education in the broader scope, but itís important to know and be able to teach children at their physical, social, emotional and cognitive levels. Itís also important for providers to know childrenís development stages so they are aware of what they are teaching to young and old children.

As a provider, you want to be able to catch that teachable moment instead of just giving them busy work. We know that children donít learn by just sitting and watching. You want to let kids move around. They learn by playing and being in an environment that is stimulating to their learning style. Through classes, providers can learn how to set up their environment so that it stimulates childrenís minds.

There are lots of different kinds of courses available for providers: cognitive development; emotional development; health and safety; administration courses that teach how to run an efficient program; creative experience/curriculum courses; supervision and safety courses. There are also other specialized courses that give more in-depth focus on themes such as family child care, administration, creative experience in reading, science and multi-cultural experiences.

Taking classes and workshops might also make a providerís job easier because they will learn what to expect of children at each age. Workshops, however, are not the only way to broaden a providerís perspective. Being in the environment with the children and observing their learning first-hand is also important because it is a great way for providers to learn from the children and enhance their professional skills.

Our goal is to have the providers obtain their certificates Ė whether they be children center permits, assistant teacher credentials, etc Ė and get qualified providers in the homes and centers. We know we are working with lots of different people who may speak other languages, so we encourage them to go to college and obtain as much information as possible to enhance their professional knowledge. At the junior college level, a three-unit course costs about $68 per unit. The cost of a conference or workshop can vary between $5 and $100, depending on the organization sponsoring them.

There are many different places a provider can attend classes or workshops. In addition to junior colleges, a provider can take their learning to the next level and major in Child Development through a BA from a Cal-State college. You can also go to your R&R which offers ongoing workshops and classes to providers.

Providers should also keep themselves updated on local conferences offered by the city. Members of CAEYC can attend workshops locally. In addition to learning information provided by the workshop itself, these classes offer an opportunity for child care providers to communicate with others in the field.

There are many organizations such as CAEYC and NAEYC which offer classes specifically to child care providers. The NAEYC also offers very helpful one-hour workshops that can enhance the professional development of teachers and providers. In LA County, providers are able to get help from many groups, such as Crystal Stairs, Options, Pathways, and local R&R agencies throughout the region.

UCLA also has courses where you can obtain your certificate. UCLA holds an annual conference that provides an opportunity for child care providers to see child care environments and talk to other teachers who provide training. All of these give opportunities to obtain additional information and are focused on specific topics and details of a childrenís program. These programs and courses allow providers to see a natural setting where the skills taught are actually used.
Child Care provider Comments
Family child care provider for 4 years
Aside from all of the educational things you learn, conferences and workshops are great ways to network with other providers. When youíre home alone for much of the day, itís nice to be able to network with people who understand what you have to deal with. Every workshop you go to, you get that sense of renewal from being exposed to new ideas.
Child care provider for 8 years
Itís exciting when I go to the trainings because even though I have my own kids, the classes made me realize that there is so much I donít know. Overall, the classes teach me how I can become an even better child care provider.
Diane Ferguson
Diane Ferguson
Child care provider for 3 years
I try to go to the workshops because itís a great learning experience. Providers arenít just babysitters. We have a responsibility to stay on top of whatís going on in our community. The most important thing I learned from classes and workshops is how important it is to stay organized. I love helping other providers who are just starting out. I remind them that it is all about the children. I tell them that if you research and educate yourself, you donít have to learn by trial and error. You can educate yourself on the topic. I believe in what I do and I believe in my kids, and having good help is very important.

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Topic: Professionalism
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