Professional Development

​Making the Difference

Professional development is a 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. Professional development gives 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. Kentucky's professional development systems are evolving daily and are driven by community data input, the state Quality Rating System call Kentucky All-STARS and is 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 over 15 years. In the early years of planning, 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 those just graduating from high school to degreed professionals. We have learned from the field that modeling best practices and mentoring, i.e. "coaching," leads to a fast-track to quality outcomes. The use of a professional development plan gives feedback to employees and supervisors in terms of creating a quality-driven and self-actualizing process that energizes staff. It is important to keep up with best practices as we build on strengths and work toward continuous improvement so all children's needs can be met.  


  • An overview of the Kentucky Early Childhood Professional Development (PD) Framework that includes existing programs and supports, as well as the components of the PD Framework plan that have been implemented across the state.Kentucky’s Early Childhood Professional Development Framework
  • The Early Childhood Regional Training Centers provide a range of services for the early childhood community including regional trainings, workshops, on-site consultations, library of materials, annual statewide, and regional collaborative institutes.​​​​​​​Early Childhood Regional Training Centers
  • The Division of Child Care administers the following professional development programs, non-college scholarships, awards, and mini-grants to the extent funds are available.The Division of Child Care
  • The ECE-TRIS system captures all Early Care and Education Professionals training records and training activities.Early Care and Education Training Records Information System
  • The Office of Head Start believes a minimum of 15 clock hours of professional development per year is key for all program staff members who support the progress of children’s development.Kentucky Head Start