Friday, August 3, 2012

Sept. 1 marks new approval process to support high-quality training for early learning professionals

Training and education helps early learning professionals offer higher quality care for children. The Department of Early Learning (DEL) and partners are building a professional development system that provides clear pathways for professional development, and brings increased recognition and support to the field of early learning.

Starting Sept. 1, trainers in Washington must be approved by the state to offer trainings that meet state training requirements for child care providers (20 hours of basic STARS training and 10 hours yearly of continuing training). Already, 56 trainers have successfully completed the approval process. We have approved trainers in every county, and more applications come in every day.

The approval process is rigorous: Prospective trainers must complete a series of online modules about topics including adult learning, the state Early Learning and Development Guidelines, and the state core competencies for early education professionals. Then they must submit an application that includes an example of their work. An application is available for conferences or one-time special events, for those who want to offer STARS hours at local conferences without going through the full trainer approval process.

A trainer approval board made up of representatives of higher education, community-based training organizations and state agencies meets throughout the year to review trainer applications.Once approved, trainers can enter their available trainings into MERIT, our state professional development registry, for individuals to sign up.

Also beginning Sept. 1, DEL is offering free online trainings for early learning professionals that will earn them STARS credit. The trainings will cover several topics, including the Early Learning and Development Guidelines and cultural competencies.

As part of our Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, we are offering incentives to professionals who increase their training and education. Learn more about that here.

We at DEL are excited about ensuring high-quality training opportunities for those who care for and teach young children. For more information, visit the trainer approval page on our website. There you will find a frequently asked document for trainers, and video tutorials on the trainer approval process.

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