In the field of early childhood education, continuing education and professional development for teachers are vital. Being proactive about staying current with the latest educational trends allows you to grow and learn, and may rekindle your excitement and wonder about teaching and caring for young children. Research and knowledge about how children learn is always expanding, so there’s always something new to discover.
Continuing education makes you stand out
Having years of hands-on teaching experience is valuable of course, but participating in regular continuing education shows that you’re at the top of your game and that you care about what you do. Even if your employer won’t pay for continuing education, seeking it out not only keeps you current on the latest trends in ECE, it adds to the list of qualifications on your resume.
If you are a preschool director or owner, encouraging and providing professional development opportunities for your staff can affect your bottom line in terms of enrollment. When parents are looking for a preschool for their child, educators who are knowledgeable about the latest in ECE practices and techniques stand out from the crowd.
It gives you opportunities to network
One of the most beneficial aspects of continuing education and educational conferences is getting together with ECE pros to share stories, brainstorm ideas, and come up with solutions that benefit both preschool staff and children. Not to mention that it gives you an opportunity to vent, laugh, and commiserate about the challenges many educators face.
It helps with burnout
Caring for and teaching toddlers every day can leave you feeling burned out and stale. Whether you’re new to the field or you’ve been at it for 15 years, learning fresh ideas and techniques to employ in the classroom helps cut down on the stress you may be feeling and will make you excited about teaching again.
It keeps you current on the latest technology
When it comes to implementing technology in the classroom, staying on top of what’s happening in the industry helps you stay ahead of (or at least not behind) the learning curve. Even if you don’t use tablets, computers, or other digital media in your school, learning about the latest gadgets and educational tools allows you to better understand the technology families may be using at home.
It can make your classroom safer
State requirements for different aspects of ECE are often changing, so it’s vital to keep a leg up and make sure your school and staff are in compliance will all state and federal regulations. Preschool staff should take refresher courses on basics such as first aid and CPR every few years.
Regular review of your school’s procedures and learning new concepts about steps to take in case of an emergency will help you feel confident to handle any classroom crisis. Not only that, when there’s new information about preventing the spread of infectious diseases, having a medical professional come to your school for a one-day health-related training can halt the spread of illness and keep everyone more safe and healthy.
It makes you a better ECE professional
Being proactive about your staff development for your educators will make you feel more confident and positive about what you do. Learning new techniques and ideas about educational methods and discipline can also make you a more effective teacher or caregiver. The type of in-person instruction you receive at a class or conference can help you better understand how to implement new practices in your classroom and make it much easier to put them into action.
It can help you create a more joyful classroom environment
The best thing about continuing education and professional development may be the positive effect and love of learning it can instill in the children you teach. If you feel more energized, relaxed and confident, the kids will too; making your classroom not only an environment that’s instructive, but a happy, fun, place to be.