Research shows that high-quality early childhood education produces substantial long-term educational, social, and economic benefits with the largest benefits for children occurring when teachers are professionally prepared and adequately compensated.

Furthermore, the knowledge and skills required of an effective early education teacher has increased as science has revealed more about the capabilities of young children, how they learn best, and the importance of early learning for later school success. Therefore it is essential that a core component of Rhode Island’s efforts to build a high quality early learning system is a highly qualified workforce with access to a high quality professional development system.

Workforce Knowledge and Competency Frameworks for Early Care and Education Professionals

Rhode Island is developing Workforce Knowledge and Competency (WKC) Frameworks for key roles in the early care and education field. WKCs provide the foundation for a high quality professional development system and are based on research and theory. Currently, the state has finalized three frameworks: Workforce Knowledge and Competencies for Teachers and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Educators, the Workforce Knowledge and Competencies for Teacher Assistants, and the Workforce Knowledge and Competencies for Family Child Care Educators (see links below). Additional WKCs for Professional Development Providers and Higher Education Faculty/Staff and for Administrators and Education Coordinators will be developed in 2014.

Each framework is the result of extensive work of many dedicated individuals across the field of early childhood education and care in this state. They articulate the essential skills and knowledge that educators who work with young children in Rhode Island need to know, understand, and be able to do to promote young children's healthy development and learning. The competencies are designed for many purposes including, but not limited to: supporting an educator’s individual professional development efforts, helping program administrators’ articulate teacher job expectations and design evaluation processes for staff and guiding higher education and professional development providers on the creation of curricula for college courses and teacher training offered in the community.

The Rhode Island Early Learning Standards Project provides four professional development opportunities to support early care and education professionals in creating high-quality, Standards-based programs for young children. Professional development participants receive exceptional training from experienced RI Early Learning Standards Certified Trainers, work in small and large groups, share information, reflect on past and current practice and complete assignments that lead to improved early childhood programs and effective teacher practices..

For information about RI Early Learning and Development Standards Certified Trainers please contact

The following guide has been created to help individuals and programs identify what qualifies as relevant RIELDS training for BrightStars and the RIDE's Comprehensive Early Childhood Education (CECE) Program Standards. PLEASE NOTE: these requirements address program standards requirements. Individuals should always select the training that best meets their professional development needs first.

  • Foundations for RI Early Learning and Development Standards
  • Developing a Standards-Based Curriculum
  • Implementing a Standards-Based Classroom
  • Implementing a Standards-Based Program
  • Next Steps Professional Development

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley Higher Education Inventory

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley, was asked to investigate early childhood higher education opportunities available to the state’s early learning workforce. The Inventory describes the early childhood degree programs offered in the state, focusing on variation in program content, age group focus, student field-based learning, and faculty characteristics. This information allows the Council and other stakeholders to identify gaps and opportunities in the available offerings, and to assess the capacity of the higher education system over time. This document presents the Inventory findings.

Guidance Documents to Support Program Administrators and Educational Leaders in Implementing Comprehensive Early Childhood Programs:

Other Resources to Support Implementation of Standards-Based Teaching Practices

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