Reaching Consensus on a Definition of Professional Development for the Early Childhood Field

Virginia Buysse, Pamela J. Winton, Beth Rous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Reaching consensus on the meaning of professional development is needed to integrate professional development across various sectors of the early childhood field, distinguish various professional development approaches, match learning opportunities to learner characteristics, and evaluate its effects on professional practices and child and family outcomes. This article proposes a definition and conceptual framework for professional development across all sectors of early childhood and describes methods used to validate them. A case example illustrates how the definition and framework can be used to organize and plan professional development. Future directions for how a shared definition could move the field closer to a shared vision for planning, implementing, and evaluating professional development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • evidence-based practices
  • inclusion
  • personnel preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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