Professional Development

What are the goals in Professional Development?

  • Individuals have the knowledge and skills needed to work with children birth through five and their families.
  • Director, Lead Caregiver, or Principal has specialized preparation in business and program administration specific to early education.

Why is professional development important?

Early Education, like many other fields, requires ongoing education to keep up with the vast amount of Child Development research happening so rapidly. It is imperative that Bright & Early ND Programs stay on top of research so each child receives the opportunities necessary to succeed in school and life.

How do I show that I meet the Professional Development Quality Standards?

The Bright & Early ND Professional Development Quality Standards are outlined in the Playbook. Programs can use the Professional Development Quality Standards Inventory as a resource and guide. This inventory will help your program meet the requirements needed for each Quality Rating Step and plan future training Opportunities. 

How can I prepare now?

Plan for success. Professional development starts in one place, with the ND Growing Futures Workforce Registry. There are many benefits when becoming a member, achieving a Career Pathway placement and creating an organization account.


How does Bright & Early ND verify the professional development requirements?

Bright & Early will verify an individual’s professional development via their Growing Futures Learning Record. In order to meet the requirements, all employees must have a current Career Pathway placement on the date the program submits for the Quality Rating. The Career Pathway placement will not be verified if the status is labeled as; applied, submitted or expired. All required training must be Career Pathways training and is listed on the individual's Learning Record.

What is the ND Growing Futures Workforce Registry?

Growing Futures recognizes early childhood professionals for accomplishing professional milestones.  The ND Growing Futures Workforce Registry provides:

  • The process used by the North Dakota Department of Human Services for approval of informal (not-for-college-credit) child care training in the state.
  • Training Transcript: What used to be an endless pile paper training certificates is now in 1 training transcript. You have access to your complete training records 24/7. It’s a snap to track your training. 
  • On-line Training Calendar: Browse and choose from hundreds of trainings to renew your license. 
  • Career Pathways: Go from a “babysitter” to a true “professional”. Every career has certain education requirements. Now, child care does too! The Growing Futures Career Pathways outline the professional development qualifications expected for employment in various careers working with young children. This helps you plan your ongoing training in ways that increase your qualifications and knowledge over time.
Are Growing Futures and Bright & Early North Dakota the same thing?

No. Growing Futures and Bright & Early North Dakota are separate. However, both entities are led by the Department of Human Services. Growing Futures is for individuals and recognizes personal professional development accomplishments. Bright & Early North Dakota is for programs and recognizes programs who achieve specific steps to create a quality child care environment that prepares children for school, work and life.

We work together. Growing Future’s Career Pathways play an important part in Bright & Early. It’s how the professional development goals in Bright & Early are verified. 

Due to staff turnover. I don't meet the Professional Development Quality Standards. It's the only thing holding me back. What do I do?

Turnover is inevitable. If you don't meet the Professional Development Quality Standards, make a plan to achieve them. It's important to have a strong recruitment, orientation and training plan in place for staff. Turn your program in to a 'well oiled machine', so all new staff have a set plan to meet the professional development requirements within a certain amount of time upon employment.

Programs that are currently in a Bright & Early ND cohort and experience turnover in the 90 days prior to submitting the Quality Standards Inventory must use the Professional Development Action Plan (PDF, 164 KB) with all newly hired Lead employees. This includes the following positions: Program Director, Lead Teacher or Lead Caregiver.

The Bright & Early ND Professional Development Action Plan (PDF, 162 KB) is to be used with employees that have been hired within 90 days prior to submission of the Quality Standards Inventory. This allows the newly hired employee time to accomplish the requirements of licensing and those of the program’s Bright & Early ND Step Goal. This plan is to be completed by the employee and will be used as evidence to verify Professional Development requirements for Bright & Early ND. All goals and action items must be within 1 year of the employee’s hire date.