As educators we recognize that, like our students, there is no end to our learning and we are always looking for ways to build upon our academic and professional experience. Professional development is an excellent opportunity for all of our staff to reconnect with the latest research in the education community and network with other professionals. Because we have such tenured staff we find it is especially meaningful when we can engage in shared professional development as a team. This allows us to maintain our shared vision for our work with families and continue to provide top quality care while also meeting our state and NAEYC required training hours.
For the past year and a half the staff have been working as a team to revise our system of observation, documentation and assessment of children’s progress and development. Last year we researched different systems and developed a system that would work for our school’s culture, learning philosophy, and teaching methodology. This year we put into practice the new system and are continuing to refine it. This has been a major focus for our staff development throughout the year at our monthly meetings.
At John Winthrop we place a high importance on children’s Social and Emotional Learning and Development (SEL). Last year we decided to dedicate some of our training hours to learning more about the latest research about SEL including the standards set out by the Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CSEFEL). We will complete this training at this year’s Annual Staff Development Day with Denise Galford-Koeppel, MS, PMC, CEIS.
This year during our shared development day on March 17th we will participate in a workshop about classroom environment design and nature inspired learning materials with Dr. Iris Chin Ponte, PhD. Next month we will continue our learning by visiting one of our local partner schools to see how they have recently transformed their classroom environments.
All of our staff are required to participate in 20 hours of professional development each year in order to maintain our educator credentials through the Department of Early Education and Care. This year our staff have participated in a variety of trainings including:
- “Teaching Strategies to Promote Social Emotional Development”
- Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children Conference: “Children: Our Link to the Future”
- Learning and the Brain Conference: “The Science of Character”
- Lesley University Early Childhood Ed. and Care Workshop Series: Poverty and the Achievement Gap
- Boston Association for the Education of Young Children Babies and Toddlers Conference
- Lesley University’s Reggio Emilia Institute