5 After School Training Resources for Professional Development
There are so many reasons why educators would pursue professional development. The obvious ones relate to job opportunities, but the cascade of benefits from refreshing and updating your skillset extends well beyond career opportunities.
Everything that makes after school programs so relevant to student success can be enhanced when educators make the effort to stay up to date with the changes in the schooling environment. To do this, there are countless resources available that match any pathway.
We’ve got five starting points for you to go through, to help find the after school training resources you need to boost your career and keep you up to date with the changing landscape of afterschool programming. Before that though, a quick look at why this is so important.
After School Training is Key to Staying on top of Changes for After School Professionals
There are so many reasons to push your professional development forward as an after school professional. Creating and maintaining successful after school programs that engage students, families, and staff requires continued updating and improvement in the current culture and demand of the after school program markets.
In order to cultivate a safe and comfortable learning environment, it’s always best to sharpen your existing tools while developing new ones. By doing so, you improve your chances of professional success, expand your knowledge and experience base, and ultimately get closer to reaching your personal and professional goals. But more than this, you also make it much simpler to have the positive impact on students that you dreamed of when you chose this pathway.
Ultimately, continually updating your training makes you a better educator and trainer, and doing so benefits both you and those you’ll be working with tremendously. Taking your professional development seriously in this way also comes with ‘soft’ perks, such as:
And most importantly, the benefits to those around you will be tangible. Applying your new skills and knowledge, and being able to draw from a wider knowledge base will make you more effective at your job and better at helping those around you.
After school programs frequently suffer from high levels of staff turnover, and this relates to cases of low wages and congested or unclear career pathways. This makes it all the more pertinent to choose the right advancement resources for your desired outcomes.
There are so many ways to approach your development; methods that fit any budget or schedule, and this means there’s really no excuse for a conscientious after school professional to avoid it. If you’re curious, but you don’t know where to start, we’ve got some suggestions for you.
Populate your After School Toolkit with these Resources
We’ve picked four angles from which you can approach this, but there are many others. The idea here is to get a feel for the range of options at your disposal and find some that are appropriate for your resources.
1. Official organizations
Organizations like The National After School Association provides countless resources for professionals to develop their skills and communities. There are two paid membership options with the NAA, and with either, you’ll be provided with a wealth of opportunities to grow your skillset in a way that matches your career.
Membership tiers also include a free starter membership that’s aimed at entry-level and developing after school professionals. This membership level might be a good place to start if you’re testing the waters, and provides discounts on afterschool products and services, as well as professional development opportunities and resources.
2. Continuing Education
If you have a little more time to dedicate to your development, there are more active ways you can participate, including hopping onto development courses to expand and grow your skills in a way that appeals to employers.
These courses can also be cheap or even free, and come in a variety of forms. They can be conducted online or in person, and there are hundreds to choose from, making this a flexible choice for a multitude of professional needs.
For an example, check out Care Courses. Their aim is to provide affordable, well-researched, and highly-relevant courses designed to meet state requirements. As an introduction, check out the free course on their page to see how they operate.
If you’re looking for more free courses, a better option might be the OSTPD Center; a quick look at the list of their free and paid courses gives you an idea of the hundreds of options they provide.
3. Training Toolkits
Program directors and staff are the targets for some of the toolkits from SEDL. This is a free resource that numerous topics and approaches, and can be used by individuals or teams of staff at any relevant organization. Topics include literacy, math, science, arts, technology, and homework, and there are even resources on how best to use the toolkit itself.
After school toolkits provide an all-in-one package for improving student engagement while providing you with up-to-date set of assets that are specifically designed for the supporting academic enrichment in after school programs.
If you don’t necessarily need the qualifications and you’re happy to do your own home-based studies, there are plenty of resources online that can boost your development too. Even acts as simple as joining in discussions on educator forums or researching lesson plans and unique afterschool projects on YouTube can go a long way to helping you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.
The trick to using these resources is to make sure they are recent, and online forums and social media are a great way to make sure the discussion stays fresh.
5. In-House Training Programs
It may be that you don’t have to look any farther afield than your own organization for the resources you need. In an ideal world, staff members should be provided with professional development resources by their employers. One way to achieve this is by forming strategic partnerships with schools, community associations, colleges, businesses, or any other institution capable of expanding professional development options.
Employers can form these partnerships as a way of providing in-house training opportunities to their employees. For example, the Afterschool Alliance has a list of partnerships with STEM-rich institutions which may come in handy as a source of professional development access.
The goals of afterschool professionals should always include the need to keep up with the needs of students as society evolves around them. The exposure of educators to new lessons and resources to broaden their after school toolkits create fresh ideas and perspectives on how to better approach their work. For motivated and conscientious professionals, this career development is the key to staying relevant and successful in what they do.
Thankfully, there are countless available resources to accomplish these goals, and in doing so, after school professionals will see benefits that go well beyond simple career progression and into a boost in confidence and well-being for both themselves and those they are here to support.
As always, for any afterschool projects you’re running, check out Curacubby. Our all-in-one platform combines registration, payment, tracking, and multiple other related features into a single dashboard to streamline the organization of your after school programs.
Schedule time with an Out-of-School Time Specialist to discover how Curacubby can support your Organization.