Disclosure: I partnered with ChildCare Education Institute to write this article. All opinions are my own.
There’s no denying that education has changed a lot since we were in school – no matter whether you were in school 20 years ago or 60 years ago! In fact there are huge differences from just 10 years ago in the world!
Below are 10 topic areas early education teachers are studying today that they might not have focused so much on ten years ago. I highly recommend you try these courses from ChildCare Education Institute, the industry leader for online professional development.
1.Electronics, Coding, Social Media & Technology
STEM is a huge acronym right now and for good reason! By far one of the biggest things that has changed over time in ECE is most certainly our technological advances. Now teachers are fighting to keep up with new technologies, find funding for expensive electronics, understand coding, navigating social media with their students, and much more. Learning and excelling in science, technology, engineering skills and math are of vital important for careers moving forward.
Add the murky waters of social media relationships between students themselves and students vs. staff and you’ve added even more complex scenarios into play. CCEI offers several courses that are beneficial in this area including:
- CUR123: Robotics in Early Childhood Education: Hands-On and Playful Approaches
- ADM110: Technology and Social Media Policy in the Early Care and Education Environment
2. Food Allergies & Nutrition
Although food allergies are not a new struggle, it is certainly a far more prevalent struggle for both students and their families as well as school staff trying to keep all students safe. Changing how we eat, how we serve lunch in the cafeteria, how we monitor what parents are sending in lunch boxes, what’s in our food, and who children with food allergies are sitting next to during lunch time is more to juggle than ECE teachers had 10 years ago.
The prevalence of food allergies has forever changed the landscape of classroom parties and what’s in our lunch boxes. CCEI’s course CCEI119: Food Allergies in the Early Care Setting provides an overview of food allergies and basic food allergy safety principles to employ in the early care setting.
How to help children learn to play sounds simple right? Play has always been vital to a child’s development but the focus is stronger than ever right now. It reinforces their learning in multiple areas throughout the day and is a child’s foundation for learning. Between test scores and academic rigor, the focus on emphasizing play is even more important now than it ever has been. It’s a fight for creativity. Here are a few suggested courses that promote optimal development across all domains during early childhood and beyond:
- CHD104: The Importance of Play in Early Childhood
- CHD105: Focusing on Expressive Play and Artistic Development
- CUR115: Mathematical Talk and Play
4. Diverse Learners
Diversity comes in many types of need and spans demographics, culture, non-English speaking, special needs, homelessness, or any other myriad of obstacles that branches our students today. Again, not a new area of learning for teachers but a far stronger need of awareness and understanding than ten years ago.
Not only is there a stronger awareness for diverse learners but for educators to understand how to bridge that gap and engage the students in their diversity. I recommend taking the following CCEI courses on diverse learners:
- CCEI640: Creating a Multicultural Environment
- SOC105: Addressing Homelessness: The Role of the Early Childhood Educator
- CUR111: Cultural Competence and Promoting Awareness of Diversity in Child Care
- SOC103: Gender Bias and Stereotypes
- CCEI968: Inclusion and Children with Special Needs
- CLM100: Teaching Multiage Groups
5. Learning Assessments
Learning assessments have varied greatly in the past decade for so many reasons. Not only is a child’s academic future guided but also their social-emotional development as well as physical progression. Looking at a child’s academic progress also means incorporating their whole well-being. Assessments now include emotional well-being, behavior, and listening as well as academics. CCEI’s courses CUR117: Authentic Assessment in Early Care and Education provides educators with comprehensive, research-based guidance about assessment in early childhood education. SOC107 Building Social and Emotional Competence explores how social and emotional skills develop over time and ways that ECE professionals can use their understanding of this development to create an environment that supports children’s individual needs.
6. Differentiated Instruction
Differentiated instruction is a big deal today for ECE teachers and helps to tailor to a variety of learning experiences to the individual needs of students in the classroom. Differentiated instruction not only using research based comprehensive learning standards but also learning how to effectively implement it in the classroom. This can prove difficult, however, for teachers who are already stretched thin with minimal resources and time. These courses below cover strategies for individualizing instruction in order to meet the needs of all young children, including but not limited to those with special needs, the common core standards and why the value of curriculum is important:
- GUI104: Individualized Guidance, Instruction, and Support in Early Childhood Care and Education
- CUR110: What the Common Core State Standards Mean for Early Childhood Education
- CCEI101: Curriculum: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
7. Cross Curriculum Teaching
Cross curriculum teaching was something that you didn’t hear much about ten years ago, but it is the art and skill of blending various subjects together. It dives into a deeper learning base that is more meaningful and helps students connect developing solutions across a myriad of areas. For example, instead of only learning about sunflowers in science, now you are also counting sunflower seeds in math, using the yellow sunflower petals as inspiration in art, and learning about the history of sunflowers in your region. These courses examine the process of establishing and enhancing learning centers in an early childhood education setting, provide basic information about STEM and the benefits children will have spending more time outdoors:
- CCEI450A: Launching Learning Centers in Your Classroom (read my review on this course here)
- CUR106: STEM in Early Childhood Education
- CUR118: Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning.
8. Cooperative Learning
In a busy world of focusing on oneself getting ahead, cooperative learning helps to engage interactions among the students themselves. It maximizes the level of participation and promotes teamwork in a classroom, but can be tricky when children don’t always play nice together. The CCEI course, GUI101: Classroom Management, provides educators with strategies and practices for promoting appropriate behavior, positive social and emotional development, and a productive, effective learning environment.
9. Family Engagement
From broken families to struggling families, families of varying languages, and just plain busy families – today’s family is nothing like families were 10 years ago. This means the teacher / parent relationship is changing as well. Throw social media and networking groups into the mix, complaints, lack of trust, lack of availability, or just plain lack of care – teachers dealing with parents and students today can provide quite the mixed bag. CCEI offers CCEI520: Parent Communication: Building Partners in the Educational Process and examines the importance of open communication between parents and teachers.
10. Dealing with Mass Trauma
Unfortunately mass trauma seems to be popping up everywhere – so much so in fact that we can’t keep up with it! Add on the quick networking and spread of social media and you’ve got emotions flying at an all time high. Dealing with troubling news and occurrences is not an easy thing to process for anyone – let alone children. Teachers are now bridging the emotional need to students in addition to guidance counselors. CCEI courses ADM107: Coping with Crises and Traumatic Events and SOC108: Establishing Trauma Informed Practices in Early Learning Environments introduces the concept of trauma in the lives of young children and focus on ways to incorporate trauma informed practices into the environment and interactions with children.
Every course I take with CCEI, I learn new things with each course I complete and highly recommend you try them today, as you can also review your courses as well as find additional resources to do further research.
ChildCare Education Institute Overview:
ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, online training courses and programs, applicable to those who work in an array of child care settings, including center-based care, Head Start, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, after school environments and more. Over 150 English and Spanish training courses are available to meet licensing, recognition programs, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard℠ Comprehensive training provider, accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
- 99 percent of students say they would recommend CCEI to others
- Over 5 million online course hours completed
- Graduated over 15,000 early childhood professionals from CDA and other certificate programs
- Web-based coursework, available 24/7/365
- 30 hours of new content added each year
- IACET CEUs awarded for completed coursework at no additional cost
I have taken two courses online since partnering with ChildCare Education Institute – Launching Learning Centers in Your Classroom (CCEI450A) and Exploring Visual & Spatial Intelligence (COG100). I found both to be well laid out and simple to digest. Every time with CCEI, I learn new things with each course I complete and highly recommend you try them today. You can also review your courses as well as find additional resources to do further research.