Learning Leader

Engaging Early Childhood Professionals during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the early childhood community in Texas in all sectors. Like many of our partners, the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) is grateful for opportunities to continue serving early childhood programs and families. Many of our efforts are focused on supporting early childhood professionals across the state through professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and specialists.

Each year, early childhood professionals complete trainings and professional development to continue advancing their understanding of child development and improving the quality of their practice. As the State Center for Early Childhood Development, CLI is dedicated to early childhood professional development through our programs, projects, and online resources available to the state. One program at CLI, the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS), supports early childhood professionals in tracking their experience, education, and professional development for advancing their career pathways. During COVID-19, significant impacts to the early childhood community make resources like TECPDS even more important – enabling professionals to track their professional experiences supports them in making decisions about the next steps in their careers. More than 27,000 Texas early childhood professionals, representing all early childhood settings and roles, have accounts on TECPDS, available at no cost.

As child care centers begin expanding services in their communities, new minimum standards impact how their staff prepare to re-open during COVID-19. CLI staff joined Governor Greg Abbott’s Texas Frontline Child Care Task Force to develop new online trainings for child care providers and parents, including those required for all staff. Learn more about these trainings here.

CLI’s online platform CLI Engage houses our online professional development library, offering access to hundreds of hours of training at no cost. These online courses cover a broad range of topics to support the ongoing education of early childhood teachers, administrators, providers, and specialists who support children from birth through age 6, integrating authentic video and application-based activities. A technology integration between CLI Engage and TECPDS provides for the automatic transfer of training certificates awarded on CLI Engage into the personal accounts of early childhood professionals, streamlining the process for tracking personal professional development.

  • Introductions to Texas’ early learning guidelines, including the Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines, Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, and Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators
  • CLI’s eCIRCLE Professional Development, used for over 10 years in the Texas School Ready program, offers more than 73 hours of online training covering topics in classroom management, language and literacy, social and emotional development, science, and mathematics
  • CIRCLE Infant and Toddler Teacher Training: Play with Me online course series features instructional strategies for infant and toddler teachers in action through video of real teacher-child interactions, common child development theories, hear from experts on frequently asked questions, and track child developmental milestones
  • Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH) is an online professional development program specifically designed for home-based child care providers

Visit CLI Engage to learn more about these courses and to sign-up for free access. Our team is always working to develop new online professional development; new courses will be available soon to support family engagement, infant and toddler teachers, and early childhood specialists.

Since mid-March, more than 60,000 professional development hours have been awarded on CLI Engage. Early childhood professionals can sign-up for CLI Engage to access online professional development at no cost by visiting the website.


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