Professional Development

Our goal is to help early childhood educators meet their credit requirements through affordable, high-quality professional development. After all, the more our educators learn and grow in their practice, the richer the learning experiences for children in their care.

About Credits

  • Gateways Credits — Gateways Credentials are symbols of professional achievement that validate knowledge, skills and experience. They are awarded and recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development. They are required for some Circles of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois and can be used to help with employment decisions in early learning programs. Learn more about Gateways credentials.
  • Early Intervention Training Hours — This type of credit hour is continuing education credit for early intervention professionals. The Core Early Intervention (EI) Content Areas (types of Early Intervention Credits) and their abbreviations are:
    • AS = Assessment
    • ATY = Atypical Child Development
    • TYP = Typical Child Development
    • INT = Intervention
    • WWF = Working with Families
  • PD Clock Hours/CPDUs — CPDU stands for Continuing Professional Development Unit. This professional development is a credit that educators, teachers, and school support services personnel must complete to maintain their certification. The Collaboration for Early Childhood’s Early Childhood Symposium is an approved professional development event. Participants will need to provide their IEIN (Illinois Educator Identification Number) to receive this credit.

Early Childhood Professional Development

The Collaboration for Early Childhood professional development is always free or low cost and educators can earn their required 15 hours of credit per year through our annual offerings. To see upcoming professional development opportunities, visit our events page.

The Collaboration for Early Childhood also provides group and individual advising and guidance to early childhood staff interested in furthering their education and training. This includes support in accessing:

The Early Childhood Annual Symposium

A signature event of the Collaboration each winter, our annual Symposium provides an arena for educators, caregivers, parents, and anyone who works with young children to gain knowledge, perspective and practical skills in promoting positive learning experiences. Designed to be interactive and to promote networking amongst attendees, the Symposium includes a keynote address by a noted authority on that year’s theme and it offers a wide range of workshops. Explore resources and themes from past Symposia.

The Professional Development Committee

The Collaboration convenes and facilitates the Professional Development (PD) Committee, a group that designs and plans the annual symposium as well as the annual calendar of early childhood education workshops and professional development offerings. Interested in joining the Professional Development Committee? Reach out to us to get connected.

In addition to the Collaboration’s professional development offerings, there are other state and local professional development opportunities and resources for early childhood educators. Explore our Educator and Provider Resources page and click on the tab “Professional Development” to see more! You can also subscribe to receive our Early Learning Newsletter that publishes on a monthly basis and always includes professional development opportunities (see past issues here).

Support a strong start and a bright future.

We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.