Professional Development Counseling for Wisconsin's Early Childhood Workforce

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Q&A: What is the Professional Development Service?

The Professional Development Service is available free of charge to anyone in the field of early care and education in the state of Wisconsin... you'll receive help setting up a framework to plan for achieving short- and long-term goals.

1. What is professional development?

At WECA, we define professional development as a commitment to growth and lifelong learning in one’s profession, unique to each individual. It can be shaped by your personal interests and encompass a large array of activities, including:

 

2. What is the difference between short-term professional development and long-term professional development?

Short-term professional development refers to steps one can take within a shorter time-frame in order to meet goals. Long-term professional development refers to goals that will take multiple steps, and sometimes, many years, to accomplish.

For example, if a provider’s long-term goal is to eventually obtain an associate's degree in ECE, she may start with a shorter-term goal of completing the Preschool Credential, which consists of 18 credits that transfer into the associate's degree. An even shorter-term goal would be to complete one or two classes that are part of the associate's degree and Preschool Credential. By experiencing small successes first, it's easier to move onto a bigger chunk of the long-term goal. In this way, providers can move one step at a time toward something that seems very far off on the horizon. Thinking about the entire long-term goal all at once can feel overwhelming. Breaking a larger task into manageable steps is a strategy that we can use in many facets of our lives. It can help us plan, and motivate us to keep putting one foot in front of the other on a sometimes long road to a big goal we have for ourselves.

Achieving long-term goals after much hard work is extremely satisfying. Short-term goals are satisfying as well, and can also stand on their own. For example, the same provider with the long-term goal of achieving her associate's degree may have a short-term goal of completing the requirements to move from a certified to licensed family child care provider.

Breaking a larger task into manageable steps is a strategy that we can use in many facets of our lives. It can help us plan, and motivate us to keep putting one foot in front of the other on a sometimes long road to a big goal we have for ourselves.

 

3. What is the Professional Development service? What does it do?

Professional Development Services is a free counseling service that can help anyone working with children discover their strengths, connect to resources and map out their goals.

The Professional Development Service helps you first think about short- and long-term goals. Next, you'll receive help setting up a framework to plan for achieving short- and long-term goals. As a result, you'll experience more depth and satisfaction in your professional life.

Professional Development Counselors talk with you, typically over the phone, about the strengths you bring to your work, as well as areas of interest and learning styles. We are an encouraging force if you are looking to move forward in the profession but maybe need someone to help you talk through it and develop a plan. Each person we interact with is an individual on his or her own path. We meet you where you are at and help you think of ways to move forward, depending on your goals and personal situation.

You can fill out the Professional Development Questionnaire and mail it to our Madison office. The information provided in the questionnaire helps counselors learn more about your background and goals. We then call you and have a one-on-one conversation. You are also very welcome to contact us directly. And stay tuned—we are developing an interactive, online Professional Development tool that we anticipate will be operational in early 2014.

And remember, the Professional Development Service is available to anyone in the field of early care and education in the state of Wisconsin. We look forward to talking to you soon!