What is Professional Development?
Professional development is approved pre-service or in-service training designed to improve knowledge, skills, and behaviors. Ongoing professional development and training is essential to providing high-quality services to children and families, with the primary mission of supporting children’s development and learning. Professional Development encompasses a range of learning and support activities designed to prepare individuals for work with and on behalf of young children and their families, as well as ongoing experiences to enhance their work. These learning opportunities lead to improvements in the knowledge, skills, practices, and abilities of early education and school-age professionals. A knowledgeable workforce increases the likelihood that all children will experience success as they move into formal school experiences and later, as citizens of the world. As new knowledge emerges about best practices in early education and school-age child care, each individual is called upon to improve their skills and abilities in this important work. While a variety of training and workshops may be of interest to child care providers and staff, only those workshops and training that are approved by MSDE will count toward the training requirements for licensing, credentialing and EXCELS.
Early childhood and school-age professionals in Maryland can locate professional development opportunities using The Statewide Training Clearinghouse.
What is Technical Assistance?
Technical assistance is the provision of targeted and customized support by an expert to an individual or program. The assistance may be long-term or short-term and may be provided on-site or remotely. Maryland EXCELS programs have access to several types of Technical Assistance:
- Upon acceptance into Maryland EXCELS, programs are assigned a Program Coordinator to provide guidance, support and technical assistance as they progress through the Maryland EXCELS process. In addition to rating documents uploaded by the program, the Program Coordinator provides telephone and email consultation regarding the Maryland EXCELS system and standards. Program Coordinators offer guidance to programs on what documentation is needed to progress to the next check level in the system.
- Quality Assurance Specialists are available to provide on-site, phone and email support to programs participating in Maryland EXCELS and to provide information to groups and individuals. Quality Assurance Specialists are assigned to specific regions of the state and are available to conduct random check level verification visits as well as on-site support with the Maryland EXCELS standards and system.
- In addition, the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, through the Child Care Resource Centers, located across the state, provides technical assistance to programs seeking help in areas such as, but not limited to, licensing and compliance, behavioral issues, children with special needs, Maryland EXCELS, the Child Care Credential Program, Environment Rating Scales, and Accreditation.