Training Materials


One of the key features of quality early childhood programs is the training and experience level of the staff. Effective early childhood professionals have a strong background in education and development, building specialized early childhood competencies.

Smart Beginnings SE and Crater workshops and self study training options align with state early childhood standards. Content for our workshops is based on the expectation of the VA Star Quality Initiative (VSQI) pdf and Milestones of Child Development The intent of our training and education programs are to improve the quality of early childhood professionals, because we know that children with access to high quality learning experiences are more likely to acquire the skills they need to enter kindergarten ready to succeed and adapt to new learning and social environments.

Our Educator Training sessions are specifically designed for:
• Infant & Toddler Teachers
• Pre-school & Pre-K teachers
• Adminstrators & Directors
• Home-based childcare providers

Download and complete your Self Study Personal and Professional Reflection Form here.


Select categories below to access related training materials.

Environment and Instruction (ITERS & ECERS) – These articles relate to topics for organizing and setting up a high quality early learning environment. Content in articles aligns with Standard 4 on the Virginia Star Quality Initiative and Environmental Rating Scales (ITERS & ECERS).

Making Long Lasting Changes with Environmental Rating Scales
Consider the Walls
Block Building & Make Believe Play

ESL: English Language Acquisition – These articles relate to strategies for working with children who are not native English speakers, and include information on how to help children make progress in understanding and speaking English.

Effective ESL & Diversity Classroom Strategies
Understanding the Impact of Language Differences
Storybook Reading for Young Dual Language Learners
ESL strategies for Infants & Toddlers

Language and Literacy – These articles are about how adults can help young children develop language and literacy skills. Topics include listening & speaking, phonological awareness & alphabet knowledge, print awareness & concepts, comprehension & vocabulary and early writing.

Early Literacy Infants & Toddlers
Creating Print Rich Learning Centers
Shoot for the Stars : A Strategy for teaching New Words
N is for Nonsensical – The case for content-rich literacy instruction
Phonological Awareness is Child’s Play
Real reasons to Write
Essentials of Early Literacy Instruction

Math – Articles about developmentally appropriate math activities for young children, aligned with the VA Milestones for Development & Foundation Blocks.

Math Books for Young Children
Calendar Time for Young Children
Math Games for Preschoolers

Quality Interactions (CLASS Related Articles) – These articles relate to dimensions of the Classroom Based Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) that is used for Standard 2 in the Virginia Star Quality Initiative. Articles describe ways teachers can provide high levels of instructional support to encourage higher levels of learning in young children.

Managing Transitions to Prevent Challenging Behavior
Alternatives to “Good Job”
Tools to Enhance Children’s Thinking
Powerful Interactions

School Readiness – Articles related to better understanding the importance of school readiness.

Deep Pools of Promise
School Readiness Report

Social and Emotional Development – Articles about developmentally appropriate math activities for young children, aligned with the VA Milestones for Development & Foundation Blocks.

Adapting the Environment to Meet Different Emotional Needs
A Guide For Discipline
Guidance Strategy “The Problem Solver Job”