What is professional development in early childhood?
“Professional development” is the development of new ideas, skills, knowledge, and experience. You can use it to help your personal development and advance your career in the childcare sector.
Professional development can include courses, work-based learning, distance learning programs, studying on your own, relevant volunteering work, coaching, tutoring, teaching, customise training, going to lectures, seminars or conferences, and a range of other activities.
So what are the reasons to invest in professional development in childcare?
What is Professional Development in Childcare and Why Invest On It?
1. Keep your job – new childcare regulations in Australia require you to have particular qualifications to be employed in many roles in childcare.
For example, a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (aka Children’s Services), one of the many nationally recognised qualifications in Australia, is required to be a childcare worker/educator in long daycare settings or becoming early childhood educators.
2. Advance your career – taking the next step up in your early childhood career frequently requires you to have higher-level qualifications. After all, this is what industry leaders look out for.
Build on your Certificate III qualification with a Diploma and use that as an entry point into your university Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.
You can also move from childcare into related careers – for instance, earn a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to go with your Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Education, then teach those qualifications.
3. Help you stay at the cutting edge of early childhood education and care – “best practices” change constantly in every industry, especially in the early childhood sector.
Staying at the cutting edge via professional learning can make you more valuable to your employer —and help ensure you are well qualified in supporting children, providing the best care possible, and probably one of the most essential things you can contribute to, is children’s learning and how well their experience is.
4. You have a moral obligation – when you’re caring for children, you have a responsibility to make sure they go home safe at the end of the day.
Courses like the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care include basic first aid but you can build on that yourself with more advanced first aid qualifications or courses that offer child protection units to take care of children with special needs in early childhood.
5. Keep up with the latest technology – even within the last few years, technology like tablets and smartphones have revolutionised the way we work as adults, and the dynamics of play for children — oftentimes contributing to quality outcome and less hands-on approach.
Learn how to use modern technology to improve learning for children in your care (and also protect these children from harmful effects that may come with the use of such technology).
6. Stay up to date with the latest regulations – Australia has introduced several childcare-related regulations in recent years including the National Quality Framework and the Early Years Learning Framework.
Do you know what your responsibilities are? How do they affect your childcare service and your skills in educating children? If you don’t, or is not up to date, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the National Quality Framework and the Early Years Learning Framework.
7. You might just enjoy learning – even if you don’t, there are many advantages to continuous lifelong learning. Some of the benefits are: making new friends and develop relationships, keeping your mind active, help you find meaning in life, gaining proficiency in self-assessment/individual learning and improving from there, adapting to change, make the world a better place, increase your wisdom, fully develop your natural abilities, open your mind, and keep you actively involved as a contributor to society.
Advantages of Professional Development for Early Childhood Education: Childcare Centres and Employers Benefit Too
Professional development is not only important for your career, the childcare centre you work for or manage also benefits. Workplaces that have a policy of continuous professional development and education have been shown to have:
- Reduced sickness and absenteeism
- Reduced error rates
- Reduced staff turnover
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Employees become more willing to learn new things and take up the employer’s training
- Employees become more confident to apply for internal promotion
- Improved industrial relations
Start your Childcare Professional Development Today as Early Childhood Educators!
Professional development is an ongoing process of critical reflection on your current skills and knowledge, working out what you’d like to learn next, and then doing it.
Anything that helps you develop your practical skills, knowledge, or competence at work can be called professional development.
If you need help, look for “mentors”– professional industry experts and people who have been in the industry a long time and have lots of experience.
Looking for a mentor in your field can be crucial if you want to be successful and learn the ropes of an industry. It’s also the most practical step to take if you’re really keen to improve.
Mentors can give you ideas, point out the best training and guide your professional development, and become the supporting figure you need to be the best early childhood educators you can be for the children!
If you’re interested in the idea presented above, then start planning today and get your professional development underway!
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