Professional Development

EarlyEdU Alliance: Coursework for Head Start Professional Development

Woman taking a course online.EarlyEdU Alliance® collaborates with early childhood experts and stakeholders — professionals in higher education, government agencies, and community organizations including Head Start programs — to meet the need for high-quality bachelor’s degree programs that are accessible, affordable, and relevant for current and prospective early learning professionals.

Free courses for in-person and online learning prepare prospective and working early childhood teachers to succeed in the classroom. Courses also support disability services coordinators and coaches working to promote inclusive practices.

Courses combine theory and the latest research with students’ field-based learning. If a field-based setting is not feasible, observational videos from the Media Library can serve as an alternative.

An additional resource, the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion, is a video sharing and coaching platform that instructors can use to ensure students engagement in virtual communities of practice. EarlyEdU also maintains a large repository of professional development resources.

Courses, the Media Library, the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion, and the professional development resources are available to all faculty affiliated with an institution of higher education who are Alliance members.

Alliance membership is free. Go to the EarlyEdU Alliance website to become a member and get these benefits.

Underlying Teaching Frameworks

An intentional teaching framework — Know-See-Do-Reflect-Improve — underlies EarlyEdU coursework and professional development resources. Many Head Start resources also use this intentional teaching framework, including the 15 Minute In-service Suites and Effective Practice Guides.

Furthermore, many EarlyEdU resources align with frameworks familiar to Head Start programs, including the Framework for Effective Practice, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, and the Classroom Assessment and Scoring System for Pre-K. This alignment further solidifies the connection of EarlyEdU in supporting the Head Start education workforce.  

Historical Connection with the Office of Head Start

The EarlyEdU Alliance began as part of a grant funded from the Office of Head Start (OHS). EarlyEdU grew from long-time efforts to improve higher education opportunities for Head Start teachers and others in the early learning workforce, and it was officially launched in 2016.

Much of the initial focus of EarlyEdU was creating in-person and online college courses and the transformation of early childhood teacher preparation. The EarlyEdU Alliance continues to develop professional development materials that can be used to enhance the knowledge and skills of early childhood teachers in their own classrooms and programs. These resources enhance the toolkits of training providers and the course offerings of early childhood faculty.

In its current iteration, the EarlyEdU Alliance is no longer directly funded with federal dollars. However, the materials are a result of the work of several national training and technical assistance centers and the outcome of a variety of initiatives, many of which were supported by the OHS and the Office of Child Care.

Learning Modules

OHS collaborated with EarlyEdU Alliance to create the following learning modules series. They are designed for use by professional development providers or professionals in higher education,  to create learning opportunities for early childhood education staff in their programs and communities.