By Jennifer Gioia, CCSA Communications Manager, and Colleen Burns, CCSA Summer 2019 Communications Intern, UNC-Chapel Hill
Yolandra Powell appreciates Child Care Services Association’s (CCSA) Professional Development Program, because “I take back as many resources [and] materials as I can. If there are any books that the training suggests, I try to get those books too and use [them] as a resource within my program.”
As the owner and director of Abundant Love Christian Child Care Center in Durham since 2011, Yolandra especially appreciates CCSA’s professional development for the “business side of child care.”
She’s been in the child care industry since 1994, and has earned her associate and bachelor’s degrees, but her training and education have not ended there. Yolandra continues to improve both herself and the employees of her child care center through CCSA’s Professional Development Program.
What is CCSA’s Professional Development Program?
CCSA “works to increase access to the highest quality professional development for the early education workforce in the Triangle and across North Carolina,” says Linda Chappel, senior vice president of Triangle Area Child Care Resource and Referral Services at CCSA.
The purpose of CCSA’s Professional Development Program is to improve the quality of early care and education in family child care homes, centers and preschools by:
- increasing teacher education and training,
- improving developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood settings and
- increasing accessibility and affordability of professional development required to maintain licensure and certification.
This helps create the very best environment for children to grow, develop and enter school ready to learn. Children’s brains develop more in the first three years of life than any other time, making the education of their teachers vital.
A Teacher’s Education Affects Child Development
Numerous research studies have shown a strong connection between the education level of early childhood teachers and the quality of child care. Because they are such a vital part of the child care system, CCSA provides training for early childhood professionals, supporting their continued professional development.
“Early educators’ professional development is important since they must complete on-going training hours every year,” said Lydia Toney, technical assistant specialist/training and support coordinator at CCSA. North Carolina also requires initial and annual on-going training as part of early educators’ professional development.
In fiscal year 2018, more than 2,500 early childhood providers attended CCSA’s professional development opportunities in the Triangle.
Professional Development Opportunities
CCSA offers a variety of professional development opportunities to early childhood educators at a low cost, including workshops, seminars, online classes and continuing education courses.
“They’re very informative and allow us to be able to enhance our program,” Yolandra said. “We’ve also taken advantage of a lot of the telephone trainings…But it’s really easy, and…beneficial to [my staff]…We’re always looking for new ways and learning new things to better and help our program.”
For further professional development opportunities, Yolandra said, “It’s always good to be able to go to CCSA’s training calendar. I just print it out and allow [my staff] to pick out the training that they want to do within that particular quarter.”
The professional development calendar includes CCSA’s professional development opportunities and opportunities offered by other organizations.
Professional Development Feedback
CCSA offers surveys to participants at the end of each workshop to gather information about what they learned. Yolandra has found these surveys to be a great addition to the workshops offered. “[CCSA] should continue to do those surveys…[because feedback helps] to continue to offer good training for [child care] programs,” she said.
One of the many workshops CCSA offers is the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) workshop, where licensed facilities are required to attend the workshop and then complete an EPR plan.
“It is a bit detailed and participants [at one particular EPR workshop] were…anxious and nervous because of what they heard about the workshop,” Lydia said. “I had a participant thank me for the examples and scenarios that were shared throughout the workshop. She shared that it helped in making the experience relatable and removed the fear that she had coming into the workshop.”
Teachers are Ready to Help Children Develop and Succeed
Yolandra also understands the importance of ensuring her child care program and staff are ready to help children develop and succeed.
“I do the accreditation training through CCSA, any developmental classes that I feel will help my program, any of the infant-toddler classes,” she said. “I’ve taken the training [at CCSA] for the business side of child care. I take advantage of all the food program [CACFP] training that’s offered there as well.”