Thursday, July 30, 2015

Join DEL's Professional Development Community

Professional development is an important part of having an effective early childhood workforce in programs that serve young children and families. The Department of Early Learning's Professional Development team is dedicated to supporting people who are passionate about early education and wish to find ways to enhance their training, attend informational, educational and/or networking events and more. 

This team helps Washington's early childhood education workforce become as prepared and knowledgeable as possible for the development of our state's children during some of their most formative years.

With a growing need for educators, DEL's Professional Development (PD) team is using new ways to reach out and grow the PD community. One of those ways is through the launch of their new Facebook page, which already has a community of over 1200 people who get up-to-date announcements about training, tips for career enhancement and more.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 
"The professional development of all early childhood educators—at all levels of expertise—should be an ongoing process: All professionals need to continue to update their knowledge and skills—through a coherent and systematic program of learning experiences." 
If you care for and teach young children professionally or you’re interested in a career working with children and families, Washington’s professional development system can help you:
  • Learn what you need to know and be able to do when caring for children.
  • Manage your training and education record.
  • Find opportunities for training and education.
  • Find resources and financial support for your professional development.
DEL's PD team is involved with the maintenance of MERIT. MERIT (Managed Education and Registry Information Tool) is an online portal that helps professionals in the field of early care and education in Washington:
  • Keep track of their education and training experience
  • Find training opportunities by state-approved trainers
  • Share their qualifications with current and future employers
  • Complete a portable background check application
  • Be recognized and receive awards for their professional achievements
MERIT is for anyone who works in early care and education, including facilities and programs such as:
  • Family home child care
  • Child care centers
  • Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)
  • Head Start
  • School-age child care
MERIT is also for those who support early care and education:
  • Administrators, including facility directors and program supervisors
  • Coaches and trainers
  • K–12 educators and higher education faculty
DEL's PD team is also currently in the process of restructuring its resources in a way that makes sense for early learning professionals. Check out their Resource Gallery online to find a collection of resources for state approved trainers and professionals to use when offering classes or learning more about early care and education. The Resource Gallery is organized by the following Core Competencies which are essential to early learning:
  • Child Growth and Development
  • Curriculum and Learning Environment
  • Ongoing Measurement of Child Progress
  • Families and Community Partnerships
  • Health, Safety and Nutrition
  • Interactions
  • Program Planning and Development
  • Professional Development and Leadership
You can find great information if you browse the Professional Development pages of DEL's website such as financial or educational award information, training info and more. Join the PD community and enhance your learning today!

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