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Professional Development

asian american preschooler playing with paint

Making the Difference

Professional development is an lifelong process to ensure children receive quality care based on research and best practices in the field. High quality early learning environments cannot be achieved without a quality workforce. The KIDS NOW Initiative in 2000 gave Kentucky an opportunity to make great advances in Early Care and Education. The KIDS NOW Scholarship program built a strong higher education infra-structure throughout the state. Professional development gave the field a common language that child care, state-funded preschool and Head Start can all understand and use to build, blend and partner together. Our professional development systems are evolving daily and are driven by community data input and directed to address high quality early learning environments, supporting families and using data to guide success.

Kentucky's Career Lattice​

 The concept of a Professional Development Lattice has served Kentucky as a guiding compass for 15+years. In the early years of planning before KIDS NOW, it became evident that the needs in the Early Care and Education field could not be met with a traditional professional development ladder mindset. Our field included workers from throughout the educational spectrum, from high school drop outs to highly educated professionals. There are many success stories, like Linda Avery.

We have learned from the field that modeling best practices and mentoring, i.e. “coaching,” lead to a fast-track to quality outcomes. The use of a professional development plan gives feed-back to employees and supervisors in terms of creating a non-threatening, quality driven and self-actualizing process that energizes staff. A huge obstacle in the professional development debate has been the truism that once people obtain education, credentials and degrees, they leave their jobs for better salaries and benefits. In the past, often the response was to deny employees educational opportunities so they will “stay in a dead end job. We have learned from the field that opportunity creates positive work environments, hope for the future and amazing networks as people move up and throughout the career lattice. In our roll of outtakes from the field we discovered a spontaneous comment that was supposed to be a criticism of the loss of staff, but in fact Jill Evans provided us with a learning point about the need to graduate from high school credentialed, college and career ready students.

Professional Development System

 ​The systems lattice is an informal organization evolving from the field to build and support an efficient cross-sector, on-going professional system of professional development. It includes:



Professional Development Modules

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood is proud to sponsor FREE training modules for licensing clock hour credit.  Below is how to access these trainings:

  1. Go to the ECE-TRIS website at and navigate to the Calendar page
  2. Select the DCC Training Approval Lists tab, then Online training courses
  3. Use the Keyword search for one of the following free trainings & follow the webinar link 
  • An Introduction to Kentucky Early Childhood Standard (Requires a KET account for login)
  • Kentucky Early Childhood Standards 102 (Requires an ECE-TRIS account for login)
  • Kentucky Strengthening Families (Requires an ECE-TRIS account for login)

Governor's Office of Early Childhood - 125 Holmes St. - Frankfort, KY 40601 - (502)782-0200