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Promoting Professional Development and High Quality Early Childhood and School-Age Programmes

Working with children is an opportunity to shape lives and to help ensure the future of our community, nation, and world. The field of early childhood education (working with children birth to age 8) and school-age programs (working with children 6-12 years of age) offers numerous opportunities for careers that are both satisfying and rewarding. These career opportunities range from working directly with children; to providing supports to parents and other early childhood educators; to supervising staff; training, and education to adults so that they develop the knowledge and skills needed to provide high quality services.

This resource guide has been developed for three main purposes:

  • To provide people considering a career in early childhood and school-age programs basic information about the field, the many career opportunities available, and how to prepare for particular positions.
  • To help early childhood educators assess their current status and develop plans for their ongoing professional development in the field.
  • To help program administrators and supervisors support their employees in the professional development planning process.

This resource guide is a comprehensive source of information about the programs that provide early childhood education and school-age services, the positions that are available in these programs, and the qualifications needed to work in those positions. Information is also provided about the education and training programs that prepare students for their careers as early childhood and school-age educators.

Much of the information contained in this guide is general and can assist someone planning a career in early childhood and school-age programs anywhere. However, some of the information is specific to New York State. For example, teacher certification in this guide refers specifically to the processes and programs leading to teacher certification in New York State. In addition, the training opportunities listed in the Training Resource Database and the programs and options listed in the College and University Database are exclusively resources and programs available in New York State.

As part of the guide, a number of tools have been created to help students and working professionals develop and implement career development plans. These include:

  • a list of New York State college and university courses and degree programs
  • information on financial aid for college studies and web links for additional resources
  • a listing of New York State training resources that address a variety of early childhood, school-age, and related topics to meet the needs of individuals and groups
  • self-assessment tools that identify competencies needed to provide quality services
  • instructions for developing a professional portfolio
  • tips on how to develop a resume and sample resumes

An important first step in becoming an early childhood education in the State of New York, is to register on the New York State Registry for Early Childhood Professionals at: Aspire is New York's registry for early childhood professionals. Teachers, directors, family child care providers and trainers can use this new online system to help them keep track of their employment history, education, ongoing professional development, and contributions to the field.