Students will explore professional development opportunities from various early childhood education agencies in this lesson plan. Students will compile information into a resource collection used for their professional portfolio, to be referenced later in their career development. Students will identify areas of interest for professional development and focus on opportunities related to their areas of interest.
38.04 Identify opportunities (i.e. networking, trainings, re-certification, professional organizations, etc.) for continuing education and professional development.
41.04 Identify opportunities and research requirements for career advancement and ongoing professional development
39.04 Compile a resource collection according to State and/or National Guidelines
This lesson will fall under a unit on effective employability skills and requirements in early childhood education. The unit focuses on identifying a career and planning goals to achieve said career path. Prior to this lesson, students should have researched early childhood education career paths, identified industry certifications and/or degrees required, and developed a personal career vision related to their specific passion in early childhood education. Previous lessons may also include research on specific career skills and knowledge needed for their career path.
This lesson includes the skills of career planning, specifically related to early childhood education, as well as personal development and goal setting. The Resource Collection component serves as a requirement for initial industry certification in early childhood education.
Students will be able to:
Research early childhood education agencies that provide professional development and career advancement opportunities
Compile a research collection item related to professional development opportunities in early childhood education
Identify resources for career advancement in early childhood education
Students should be familiar with:
Career options in the field of early childhood education, including certification/degree and skill/knowledge requirements.
Their personal career vision as it relates to early childhood education
Where can I find information about professional development opportunities in early childhood education?
What are the membership requirements and perks for various early childhood education organizations?
How do various early childhood education organizations support individuals working with young children?
1. To introduce the lesson, ask students to consider the following questions based on their previous career research and career vision. Have student volunteers share their reflections.
Can I clearly and concisely state my career goals?
What are my areas of interest?
What is a challenge I might face?
What strategies can I use to overcome that challenge?
What are some first steps I can take?
2. Explain to students that there are many organizations that are dedicated to the care and education of young children and supporting the individuals that work with young children. One example that students should be familiar with is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
3. Provide students with the PD Resource Collection handout (attached). Explain to students that they will be researching at least two early childhood organizations, focusing their attention on how the organization supports individuals that work with young children and professional development opportunities.
Teachers can choose to complete an example resource using NAEYC or allow students to use NAEYC as one of their researched resources.
See Teacher Notes for pacing and organization recommendations.
4. Provide students time to research two early childhood organizations for their resource collection. The resource collection asks students to find the following information. Explain to students the expectations for each section.
Agency Name and Information: This should include any relevant website and physical address information, contact information for any board members, organizational leaders, or membership services.
Mission and Goals: This should include a paraphrase of the organization’s mission and goal statements.
Membership Information: Can individuals outside the organization become members? Students should search for information on membership fees and application processes, membership criteria, and membership perks. For example, how would an individual benefit from becoming a member?
PD Opportunities: Students should search for information on professional development opportunities with a focus on the student’s areas of interest as possible. Does the organization offer web courses, annual conferences, book clubs, etc.?
Summary: In the summary section, students should summarize the benefits of membership as they align with the student’s own career path. Students should decide whether the organization is one that they should consider joining.
5. To bring the lesson to a close, have students briefly share their findings about membership qualifications, perks, and PD opportunities. Use the guiding questions to support discussion.
Teachers may choose to assign organizations to students or allow students to choose which organizations they want to research. To avoid all students starting with NAEYC as an obvious choice, it is recommended to either complete a resource collection item on NAEYC together or assign NAEYC to specific students. Teachers may also choose to assign one resource and allow students to find the second.
Some organization recommendations include NAEYC, Florida Association for the Education of Young Children, Association for Education International, National Head Start Association, Children’s Defense Fund, National Black Child Development Institute, Florida Department of Children and Families, Southern Early Childhood Association, Alliance for Early Success, National Child Care Information Center, Pre-K Now, and Zero to Three. Also consider local early childhood coalitions and district early childhood departments.
Teachers can compile and copy everyone’s resource collection items so that students can include all the gathered PD information in their professional portfolios.
Students can complete a summary chart while others share their resource collection information. The chart would include the name of the organization, membership availability and dues, and a list of general PD opportunities.
Students can choose an organization that they would consider supporting and create a simple ‘elevator pitch’ presentation that explains the benefits of membership, mission of the organization and encourages others to join.
Accommodations & Recommendations
Special Materials Needed:
Copies of the PD Resource Collection attachment
Previous student research on early childhood education career paths
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Julie Chappell
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Florida State University