The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the vital role of early care and education (ECE), as well as the inequities and vulnerabilities the field faces. To ensure all children have a safe and strong start, a comprehensive, coordinated approach is needed to support the ECE workforce, stabilize the field, and sustain high-quality improvements to ultimately improve outcomes for all children and families.
In Rhode Island, the Center for Early Learning Professionals, which is operated by EDC, is helping the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) achieve their goal to strengthen and sustain the quality of ECE across the state, thus improving educational outcomes for all children. The Center gives Rhode Island’s early childhood workforce the support, tools, and resources they need to provide high-quality care and education to the state’s youngest children.
The Center for Early Learning Professionals is Rhode Island’s Hub for professional development, resources, and program improvement initiatives designed explicitly for the state’s ECE workforce. The Center works with leaders and educators from a diverse range of programs that serve children from birth to age 16, including community-based centers, family child-care homes, and public preschool and pre-K programs. Under the operation of EDC, the Center’s activities include the following:
- Offering high-quality professional development, coaching, and program improvement services in both English and Spanish to all early childhood professionals in Rhode Island
- Providing early childhood program leaders and educators with user-friendly information about strategies to improve the quality of care for young children
- Helping programs navigate and move up the state’s quality continuum for ECE, meet licensing standards, and meet the Department of Education’s Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Program Standards
- Approving all Rhode Island professional development for the ECE workforce through a rigorous review process, ensuring alignment with current research, state standards, and workforce competencies
- Supporting school-age programs with quality programming support and technical assistance
- Providing guidance and support to ECE programs interested in becoming Rhode Island state-funded pre-K providers
- The Center’s services have reached over 1,000 early childhood programs.
- More than 9,000 early childhood educators, including family child-care providers, have enrolled in the Center’s professional development offerings.
- The Center has provided over 500 professional development courses and events and 7,000 technical assistance and coaching sessions.
- The Center has reviewed and approved over 1,000 professional development applications.