Professional Development

About Professional Development

Professional development programs target 
many specific outcomes including increased staff 
knowledge about child and
 adolescent development, use of effective strategies 
for activity programming and implementation of 
methods for promoting
 positive relationships with
 youth.

Many professional development initiatives also have the secondary goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the out-of-school time workforce by increasing providers’ marketable skills and by garnering public support for the youth development field.

Professional development settings include:

  • Higher education, such as continuing education courses and degree programs.
  • Pre-service training and new-staff orientation.
  • In-service training provided by programs to current 
staff.
  • Training seminars and resource centers provided by 
external organizations outside the program setting.
  • Local and national credentialing systems and programs.
  • Local and national conferences.
  • Mentoring programs.
  • Ongoing informal resources such as newsletters, online discussion boards and “brown bag” lunches for staff members to share ideas and expertise.

Key Information

Consider the following when planning, preparing and choosing professional development opportunities:

  • Cost and investment.
  • Assessing staff needs and interests.
  • Creating incentives for professional development.
  • Assessing professional development impact.

Professional development design is most effective when it is:

  • Rooted in adult learning theory: explaining why learning is necessary and content is valuable, treating participants as agents of their own learning and incorporating participants’ pre-existing knowledge and experiences.
  • Informed by afterschool professionals’ competency frameworks.
  • Linked to education and/or school-age childcare regulatory requirements.
  • Aligned with a quality framework.
  • Informed by research and evidence-based practice.
  • Adapted to trends, community contexts and current events as needed.
  • Supporting a culture of continuous improvement for all engaged in learning.
  • Directly relevant to practice.
  • Coupled with adequate resources, such as materials and time for integration of new learning into practice.

Strategies to Support Professional Development

Afterschool providers can best support professional development by:

  • Incorporating professional development expectations in staff recruitment practices.
  • Coaching staff members after professional development has occurred to monitor and support implementation of new ideas and skills.
  • Offering regular professional development that is an integrated part of staff members’ jobs.
  • Supporting staff to seek and engage in professional development relevant to their jobs and interests.
  • Having clearly articulated criteria through which they judge the quality of professional development both before and after engaging a professional development provider.

 

General Publications

The recording of a Webinar about how professional development for staff members can be provided that increases their effectiveness while maintaining their distinctiveness from the traditional teacher.
The core competencies for afterschool trainers outlined in this document are intended to set a standard of quality for effective trainers or facilitators working with afterschool professionals.
A set of standards that define what afterschool practitioners should know and be able to do in order to facilitate growth and development, and partner effectively with families.

Network Publications

A document identifying the knowledge and skills a child and youth development professional needs to know and do to provide quality services for children, youth (ages 5-18) and their families.
A Standards at a Glance document identifying the knowledge and skills a child and youth development professional needs to know and do to provide quality services for children, youth (ages 5-18) and their families.
It is more important than ever to promote professional development experiences that are resource-efficient and accessible to as many afterschool professionals as possible.

Tools

A staff development toolkit designed to help practitioners enhance afterschool learning through activities in literacy, math, art and science that students already enjoy.
A representation of a logic model and lessons learned for the afterschool programs.
A resource to assess and improve programs’ capacity to help build the global competence of youth.