Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 7 No 1 Contents V7 N1 2018 27
Training & Professional
other weaknesses in your centre, consulting your
workers and the centre’s families for feedback.
Consider your centre’s core values when deciding on
programs, as your training should align with what is
important to your educators, families, and the broader
community. Don’t assume you know what your workers
need to learn – ensure your decisions are based
on detailed analysis of their performance. Choose
activities that will have the most profound impact on
your workplace in both the short and long term.
To help you identify your professional development
needs, the following are key areas to consider:
children’s health and safety (including
training with medicine, disease, injuries and
children’s learning programs (such as
integrating early literacy and numeracy
relationships with children (working with
children with disabilities or behavioural
issues, or who are dealing with trauma)
physical environment (creating the best
atmosphere for safe, independent learning)
staffing arrangements, and leadership and
collaboration with families and communities.
Planning professional development programs
does not only mean arranging the program, but
also creating a plan that will allow you to best
complete and evaluate it. It is important to involve
your workers in this process, as they will be more
engaged in and committed to their learning.
Once you have chosen which areas you would like
to focus on, describe the desired outcomes of the
program explicitly so that learning is purposeful.
You should describe how the activities will be
undertaken, including measures for how information
will be collected during the exercise, and how the
success of the program will be measured. The plan
should define a timeframe for the implementation
of the learned content and outline who will be
responsible for ensuring that this is adhered to.
When selecting a specific professional development
course, you should gauge whether your workers are
at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level and
choose accordingly. Also consult your workers about
their preferred learning styles, as different providers
will offer different combinations of visual, auditory and
practical content. Your staff may also have preferences
regarding whether they learn best through group work,
or via individual reading and research.
If the costs of your desired programs exceed the
amount of funding you have available, there are
many alternatives to consider. Webinars or online
courses can sometimes provide a less costly
alternative, as well as community speakers at local
institutions or venues. Consider in-house knowledge
sharing and mentorship opportunities for your
workers if you already have highly experienced
professionals at your centre. If you’re set on a
particular program, consider sharing the costs with
other centres in your region.
During the program
Once you have selected and planned your program
extensively, there are necessary steps to take
throughout your professional development course.
The information should be recorded in a succinct yet
comprehensive manner, allowing for the best ease
of retention and future reference.
The process should involve active applications of
the information to your workplace. You and your
workers should establish a strategy for implementing
the new knowledge and skills in your workplace.
This also means collaborating with workers to
decide when the time will be taken in your daily
operations to monitor the integration of these
practices with your centre’s processes and policies.
Evaluation is the most effective process for long-
term improvement and for ensuring the success
of professional development programs. Those
who completed the program should record what
they learnt, and employers should ensure they are
providing the adequate support for applications of
new knowledge. A main concern here is working out
how to sustain the interest of the workers so these
new practices continue to be implemented months,
if not years, into the future.
You should collect extensive feedback from staff and
parents about observed improvements in the running of
your centre, and where there may still be weaknesses.
Based on this, evaluate whether you have met the
objectives outlined in your initial plan, and whether you
need to realign your priorities for next time. Rework
this information into your next plan to allow the cycle of
improvement to continue indefinitely.
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