Early Childhood Professional Development

Standard Area 6:

Professionalism and Leadership

Karen Rucker, M.S.
ECE Master Trainer


​​​Interested in a topic not listed? Contact the instructor, Karen Rucker, regarding the possibility of customizing a session to address your center's specific professional development needs or to address a specific age group. For additional information, click on the Contact tab or send an email to  or call 717-314-8368.

All Age Groups

It's Not All About You... Functioning as a Member of a Team (2 hrs / C2 - Standard Area 6)  Teams cannot be mandated by management. There is no book or article; there is no activity; there is no formula to make you a team. Groups of individuals become a team when members choose to be one. This session will examine elements of a team, the payoffs and how to move toward harmony in the workplace.

​​Not Just a Babysitter - What It Means to Be an ECE Professional (2 hrs / C1 - Standard Area 6):  Early care is so much more than just babysitting!  Children deserve practitioners who understand the importance of quality care and are committed to professionalism.  Join us as we take a look at some child care myths and discover why working in ECE can be incredibly rewarding as you leave your positive imprint on the lives of children and their families.

​NOTE: Formerly titled "Not 'Just a Babysitter!' - Committing to Professionalism in ECE

NEW!!  What Is a CDA? Exploring National Certification in Early Care by Earning a Child Development Associate (1 hr / C1 - Standard Area 6):  Are you or a staff person thinking of pursuing a CDA credential?  Taught by a long-time CDA instructor and prior CDA PD Specialist, discussion will cover types of CDA certificates available and the CDA process which consists of 120 hours of training, a professional portfolio, parent surveys, the CDA Verification Visit and the CDA exam.  Tips and hints for success in achieving the CDA will be included.

CDA Portfolio Completion and Preparation for the CDA Visit & Exam  
(6 hrs / C2 – Standard Area 6):  Designed for the CDA candidate who has either completed the 120 hours needed to apply for a CDA or is near completion.  Led by a seasoned CDA PD Specialist with considerable experience assessing CDA candidates and teaching CDA classes. This class prepares the participant for completion of the CDA portfolio tasks including the required resource collection items, competency statements, parent survey and the philosophy statement.  Guidance will also be provided in completing the CDA Application process, including finding a CDA PD Specialist and preparing for both the CDA Verification Visit and the CDA exam. 
IMPORTANT:  Participant must already own/purchase a copy of the CDA competency standards book from the CDA Council which applies to the CDA they plan to pursue (Infant/Toddler or Preschool or Family Child Care).  This source is available from

COMING THIS FALL!  The Real Curriculum Superpower: RELATIONSHIPS (2 hrs / C2 - Standard Area 4 & Standard Area 6 and STARS SQ.3.4.5; SQ.3.4.9; SQ.3.4.10): What if when planning curriculum, we challenged ourselves to ask how it will support relationships - between the child and ourselves; between children and their peers; between ourselves and families; between ourselves and stakeholders?  What if all children left our classrooms confident in their personal value, knowing that they are lovable and unconditionally loved; and that mistakes are opportunities and not relationship liabilities?  if we truly want to best prepare children for their future, hands down, relationships need to be the core of everything we do in early care and education.

Behind the Scenes:  Examining How Adults Contribute to Children's Challenging Behaviors (2 hrs / C2 - Standard Area 4 & Standard Area 6 and STARS SQ.3.4.4)  Often challenging behaviors are the product of multiple factors that may not be readily apparent, including the adults in the program!  Join us as we examine the bigger picture including developmentally appropriate behaviors, mistaken behaviors, unrealistic expectations, and imitation.  Small group activities, case studies and group discussions will be used in this professional development session.

NEW!! KEYNOTE ONLY - Essential Ingredient of a High Quality Care Program: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (1.5 hrs / C2 - Standard Area 4 & Standard Area 6) All children deserve to be treated in a way that respects who they are and who they have the potential to become.  Truly respecting children means that we talk with them, not at them; that we handle their bodies and minds with care, not carelessness; and that we afford them no less than we would want afforded to ourselves.  Join as we discuss the important role of respectful relationships in promoting positive outcomes for children.