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Professional Development Overview

Professional development refers to the ongoing, formal preparation that gives child care staff the knowledge and skills they need to best serve children and families. Well-designed professional development includes a broad range of activities and audiences:

  • It benefits providers in all settings, both child care centers and family child care homes
  • It responds to the needs of providers at all levels, from entry-level assistants to multi-site administrators
  • It spans a continuum of depth of knowledge, from short-term workshop-style training to college-level education


Professional development will sometimes be referred to as "education and training." Education is coursework taken at a college or university. Training is usually designed to deliver a very specific body of knowledge or to teach a specific skill (such as playground safety or first aid). Training should be used as a follow-up, rather than a substitute, to education.




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