4. Qualifications and Continuing Education

4C. Staff Development

Brief Overview of Standard: Staff development, or professional development, for early education and child development professionals refers to ongoing education and training. Professional development provides a foundation that can be used to provide the highest quality of care for young children and their families.

Specific Tools

College Coursework
College coursework in Early Childhood Education/ Child Development completed within the last 12 months with a grade of “C” or better may be accepted in lieu of annual training hours. Official college transcript must be provided and completion of coursework at an accredited college or university will be verified by INCCRRA.

Individualized Professional Development Plan
An Individualized Professional Development Plan is required to have the following items:
•    Identification of a goal
•    Identification of step(s) needed to complete the goal
•    An estimated time for achieving the goal

Gateways Professional Development Plan
Professional Development Plan (164 KB)
The purpose of the Professional Development Plan is to assess a practitioner’s current standing in early care and education or school-age care. From that assessment the form can be used to identify short term goals (e.g. attending a training) and long term goals (e.g. completing a degree), as well as professional goals and barriers. This form can be completed independently or request the free assistance of a Professional Development Advisor (PDA) to help complete it.

Inventory of Practices for Promoting Children’s Social Emotional Competence
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.  The Inventory of Practices for Promoting Social Emotional Competence is designed to be used by individuals and/or teams to identify training needs and plan a course of action to address those needs related to four general areas: (a) building positive relationships, (b) creating supportive environments, (c) social emotional teaching strategies, and (d) individualized intensive interventions.  The Inventory encourages self-reflection, opportunities for teaming between classroom teachers, mentor coaches, site directors, supervisors and other administrators, and promotes effective practices for direct service staff.   

The Early Care and Education English Language Learners (ELL) Toolkit
A variety of useful tools for providers and programs teaching English language learners.  


Informational Resources

Mind in the Making
The purpose of Mind in the Making is to bring research on child development to early learning programs in a very accessible manner. The modules complement existing ECE curricula by focusing on what research says about early learning and demonstrates how to use this information in every day practice.  Participants learn about the importance of establishing learning communities and are motivated to create positive relationships within their programs between staff and children, with parents and among staff members.  Directors learn to support their staff in unique ways so they are better prepared to support children and families. As a result, practitioners become more intentional teachers who recognize that social, emotional and intellectual learning are inextricably linked.

Preparing Young Latino Children for School Success: Best Practices in Professional Development 

Effective professional development is a key component of successful early learning programs, especially as the population of Latinos and English language learners (ELLs) continues to grow. Early childhood education (ECE) educators need the knowledge and skills to work with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families—a knowledge set that is often not provided in traditional training courses and certification processes. This policy brief examines the importance of professional development as it applies to high-quality instruction for young Latino and ELL students and how it can be provided within the context of current workforce constraints.

National Center for Quality in Teaching and Learning
This nationwide effort brings early education research and practical knowledge together to identify the research-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment tools that raise child outcomes and promote school readiness. NCQTL also supports application of new instructional techniques and curriculum through coaching, feedback, and other professional development approaches.

New Voices Nuevas Voces: Guide to Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Early Childhood
This resource includes five training modules and a facilitator’s guide and is designed to help early childhood professionals create culturally diverse settings for children. For purchase.

Preparing Teachers to Use Critical Literacy in PreK-4 Classrooms (PPT presentation)
Overview created by experts from West Chester University (Pennsylvania). Explores how to build critical thinking skills through reading, unpacking literature, and preparing children to value and respect children of other, non-majority cultures. Includes examples of texts that allow all children to see themselves in positive roles (slide 7) and a list of sensitive topics that can be explored in picture books (slide 9).

Gateways to Opportunity Statewide Online Training Calendar
This comprehensive, Statewide Online Training Calendar lists professional development events (e.g., workshops, conferences, and training series) that practitioners may utilize in order to meet licensing requirements, obtain credentials, and work toward the quality rating and improvement system.  
The Statewide Online Training Calendar lists trainings that have been Registry-approved as well as trainings offered through the states’ Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agencies. Search the calendar by: date, county, CCR&R Service Delivery Area (SDA), or topic (e.g., CDA content area, Gateways content area, keywords, etc.). Query the calendar to see which trainings may apply toward earning a Gateways credential.  


Illinois STARNET provides a variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth for those who touch the lives of young children, ages birth through eight, with an emphasis on children with special needs. STARNET supports family-centered, researched and effective practices in early childhood education and care.