Professional Development

Training and development of early childhood staff is part of the ongoing work of Edward Street and other community organizations.  

Training Institutes

In June 2014, Edward Street was awarded a state Early Learning Challenge Grant focused on educator alignment from birth to 3rd grade.  In these critical early years, children and families transition between multiple learning and care environments. 

Four cross-sector professional development events connected educators, leaders and social service organizations

  • Moving Beyond Your Bake Sales and Back to School Nights: Worcester’s Engagement of Families as Learning Partners (May 2015)
    Nationally renowned experts, Dr. Karen Mapp (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Dr. Maria Paredes (WestEd) facilitated a highly interactive session to provoke new thinking and strategies for building successful school/program-family partnerships.  Educators and leaders examined current research and new models to effectively partner with families. They engaged with colleagues from across the city to redesign and develop family engagement plans to more effectively partner with families in their children’s education.
  • Building the Strongest Foundations: Understanding the Application of Massachusetts Standards for Preschool and Kindergarten Social-Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning Standards (September 2015)
    This three-part series was the first training offered on new SEL/APL Early Learning Standards in the state.  The modules explored the structure, content and design of the standards, created direct application experiences into classrooms, provided opportunities for reflective practice, and strengthened educator knowledge of the evidenced-based CLASS tool and the centrality of the adult-child relationship in achieving the standards.
  • Great Kindergarten Classrooms: What Do They Look Like and Where Do We Begin? (June 2015)
    Dr. Valora Washington and the CAYL Institute facilitated a special full-day session designed for elementary principals to examine brain science, current research and practice, and issues related to building great kindergarten classrooms.  Participants also left with a robust toolkit.
  • Aligning for Success: Early Learning Convening  (January 2016)
    Leadership from education, philanthropy, business and city government convened to review progress in the community’s alignment and development of an early learning framework for Worcester.  Facilitated discussion groups yielded feedback and ideas that were incorporated into Growing the Heart of the Commonwealth: Early Alignment for Children’s Lifelong Success.

Professional Development Throughout the Years

The influx of African immigrants to our community required that staff gain cultural competency in order to best serve children and families. Working with Pride Productions, we videotaped a training for distribution to all of our local agencies.  We also developed a written curriculum to assist staff in understanding the cultural backgrounds of our newly arriving families.

Through a generous donation from Abbott Laboratories, Edward Street hosted a workshop on the use of Creative Curriculum, one of the evidence based tools suggested by the Department of Early Education and Care.  For more information:

To determine how early educators in Worcester are faring, Edward Street conducted a staff salary and benefits survey. View the results of the survey.

State and national initiatives continue to raise the bar.  Efforts are underway to require early childhood educators to attain bachelor degrees. Edward Street has convened stakeholders to strategically plan how the community can advance the field locally.  The partnership is developing career lattices, and working to have all teachers matriculated and moving forward educationally. The partnership includes representation from The Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Worcester Technical High School, Anna Maria College, Becker College, Clark University, Quinsigamond Community College, Child Care Connection, Community Partnership for Children, Head Start, Guild of St Agnes, Rainbow Child Development Center, Worcester Comprehensive Child Care Services, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, and the Department of Early Education and Care.  

Ilse Willams, a student from the College of the Holy Cross worked with us to explore the various salary supplement and scholarship programs for early childhood educators in use across the country.  See the final report, Compensation Matters.

Edward Street hosted  a special presentation of the Reggio Emilia Approach. This workshop featured Lella Gandini, the North American Reggio Liaison. She was be joined by Susan Etheridge who discussed use of the Reggio approach within the curriculum standards and practical examples of Reggio in the classroom. Learning from the Reggio Emilia Approach in Early Childhood Education