CPD Training for Early Years Practitioners

CPD Training for Early Years Practitioners

19 Jun 2024

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Teaching and caring for children in early years can be a challenging but highly rewarding role. Early years practitioners must constantly update their skills and knowledge to ensure they are delivering a valuable service and providing young children with the best possible support and education. This article explains the role of professionals in early years education, and the benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in building a career as an Early Years Practitioner.

What is an Early Years Practitioner?

Early Years Practitioners are professionals responsible for the care and education of children during their early years, typically aged 0-6. They work in diverse settings including nurseries, pre-schools, and early years education centres. Some may also work independently as nannies or childminders.

These practitioners play a pivotal role in the social, emotional, and educational development of young children. It usually requires highly committed, empathetic, and skilled individuals who provide essential learning and care during this crucial stage. In the UK, early years education is highly regulated by the government through the Department for Education (DfE) statutory framework, known as The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

What is Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is defined by the UK government as: ‘The standards that school and childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to age 5’, EYFS sets the standards for promoting the learning, development and safety of children. It consists of four main areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. These provide the foundations for further learning as children age and evolve.

What are the responsibilities of Early Years Practitioners?

Early Years Practitioners are required to fulfil many duties within their role. Although by no means exhaustive, the following identifies some of their key responsibilities:

  • Looking after physical needs – Fulfilling the basic physical needs of a child. This could range from administering first aid, to feeding and changing nappies for very young children.
  • Safeguarding - Early years practitioners must constantly monitor children and promote their health and safety. This could include identifying potential issues and escalating them to parents, supervisors and local authorities.
  • Building relationships – An important part of the role is building relationships with children, ensuring they trust the individual and feel secure in their care. This would include children feeling able to share any concerns, including those at home.
  • Developing core skills - Early years practitioners must help young children develop core skills such as mathematics and literacy. This involves creativity and engaging children in a range of fun and stimulating activities which allow them to learn through play.
  • Monitoring progress – A key requirement is to monitor the progress of a child’s development through written records. This must be regularly reported back to parents and local authorities.

Individuals looking to pursue a career in early years teaching must display a varied skillset. This includes strong communication skills, creative thinking, empathy, and good organisation. For those who are successful it is a hugely rewarding role, as they see the impact they have on healthy child development.

Why is CPD important for Early Years Practitioners?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and is the term used to describe the learning activities individuals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities throughout their career. At its core, CPD is about the individual and their commitment to lifelong learning. CPD is a valuable means for early years professionals to develop the skills and knowledge needed in their role.

In the UK, CPD is also a professional requirement for those working in early years education. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) states: ‘’Providers must support staff to undertake appropriate training and professional development opportunities to ensure they offer quality learning and development experiences for children that continually improves.’

Although there is not a specific number of CPD hours allocated within the requirements, there are expectations from the EYFS that individuals should focus on core areas of learning and training. This includes areas such as food hygiene, first aid and safeguarding. In addition, the UK Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) will look to evaluate the ongoing professional development of Early Years Practitioners as part of their wider remit to inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

CPD helps develop skills

What are some examples of CPD in Early Years Education?

CPD combines different methodologies to learning, which includes training courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, events and online eLearning programs. The following are some examples of possible CPD in early years education:

Training Workshops and Seminars: Educators can attend workshops and seminars focused on early childhood education, covering topics such as child development, play-based learning and inclusive education. These events also provide valuable opportunities for networking with peers.

Online Courses and Webinars: This may involve participating in online courses and webinars related to child development and teaching strategies. Online platforms can be a convenient and flexible way for educators to engage in CPD.

Networking and Collaboration: Actively engaging in professional networks, both in-person and online, allows educators to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices with peers in the field.

Mentorship and Coaching Programs: Participating in mentorship or coaching programs, either as mentors or mentees, can provide valuable opportunities for CPD. Seasoned educators can share their expertise and provide guidance to less experienced colleagues.

Attending Conferences and Symposia: Early years educators can attend conferences and symposia focused on key areas such as early childhood education, child psychology, literacy development and special needs education. These events often feature keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities, providing a platform for educators to gain new insights and perspectives.

Action Learning Sets: Action learning sets involve small groups of educators coming together to discuss real workplace issues, solve problems, and learn from each other through a facilitated process. This collaborative approach fosters a supportive environment for professional development and encourages the sharing of diverse perspectives and solutions.

Critical Incident Analysis: Utilising critical incident analysis, educators can dissect and reflect on specific challenging or impactful events in their teaching practice. By examining these incidents, educators can gain valuable insights and develop strategies for handling similar situations in the future.

Participating in Research Projects: Involvement in research projects related to early years education provides educators with the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the field while staying updated on the latest findings and best practices. It also allows educators to investigate and reflect on their own teaching practices and classroom dynamics.

Cross-Training and Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-training among early years educators can broaden their perspectives and skill sets. For example, educators may participate in training sessions or workshops led by experts in related fields such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or behavioural psychology.

Benefits of CPD for Early Years Practitioners

CPD is an ongoing process and offers opportunities to constantly improve as well as stay up to date with changes in the educational field. Below are some of the key benefits early years professionals can gain by actively participating in CPD:

Improved Practice

CPD is essential for staying updated with the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and care. It may involve refining skills and knowledge in crucial areas such as child development, pedagogy, and curriculum design, as well as developing expertise in specialised areas like special needs, language development, and cultural diversity.

Enhanced Child Outcomes

CPD helps professionals learn to provide more effective support and care for children, leading to improved outcomes in areas such as cognitive development, social skills, and emotional well-being. It also focuses on helping children develop essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, and creativity. Additionally, CPD emphasises fostering a sense of belonging and community among children, which is essential for their emotional and social development.

Informed Decision-Making

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can involve updating knowledge with the latest research in child development, education, and health. This process strengthens critical thinking skills to assess evidence and make informed decisions in childcare and education settings. It also emphasises using data and research to enhance policies, procedures, and practices.

Keeping Up with Technology

CPD helps develop skills in using technology to support teaching, learning, and communication. Staying current with the latest technologies and digital tools used in early childhood education, including educational apps, online learning platforms, and virtual reality. Exploring new technologies and digital tools to enhance practices and improve outcomes for children.

Where to find CPD courses for Early Years Practitioners?

Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industries. We work with numerous providers offering various CPD for Early Years Practitioners which would be beneficial for those looking to improve their knowledge and skills.

Within the CPD Courses Catalogue, you can find a comprehensive range of training courses, educational events, eLearning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars - all of which have been formally CPD certified. There is learning specifically focused in all areas of early years education, but also opportunities for professionals to develop valuable wider transferable skills in areas such as leadership and communication.

To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, please complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to gain CPD accreditation for Early Years training courses and events

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track, and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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