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Resources for Early Childhood Professionals

The information below is organized by the Kansas and Missouri Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Professionals. The competency areas describe what professionals who work with young children and families need to know and be able to do to provide quality early care and education services. For more information on the Competencies, visit:

Child Growth and Development

Learning Environment and Curriculum

  • Let’s pretend with preschoolers!
    Play is fun and enjoyable. Just as important, it promotes children's social and emotional development. One particular form of play — pretend — is especially important for young children. And, according to Radu Bogdan, professor of Philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans, preschoolers are primed and ready to pretend.

  • Literacy learning through conversation
    Literacy learning is about much more than reading and writing. Having opportunities for conversation helps young children understand the connection between written letters and sounds. Gathering children in small groups creates a wonderful setting for encouraging conversation.

  • Spring cleaning with young children
    Young children can help with cleaning tasks, especially when they are members of a team that works together. Such activities help children focus on a task, talk about what needs to be done, and follow through until completion. These experiences can promote a sense of competence and show children that everyone benefits from teamwork.

  • Show Me Butter
    Did you know that Missouri was once ranked 16th in the nation in milk production? According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, in 1997 Missouri dairy farmers produced 2.4 billion pounds of milk. Of this milk, some was separated as cream and later became butter. Early childhood educators can use such tidbits of information to support children's development and learning.

  • Young Children and Space
    What would you think if someone told you that how you arrange your classroom space can provide more time for children to learn and play? Some researchers asked a group of preschool teachers, “What are children’s favorite play spaces?” After hearing the different answers, the researchers discovered that the spaces had one thing in common, they were small.

  • Activity Ideas for Toddlers (also available as a pdf)

  • Promoting Literacy in Young Children (pdf)
    This book contains a variety of activities to promote children’s interest in literacy. The activities have been organized according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Early Childhood Literacy Standards.

Child Observation and Assessment

Families and Communities

  • A quilting community: Celebrating diversity in the classroom
    How can early childhood teachers convey the meaning of diversity in ways that young children will understand? One method is to use quilts. Teachers can use quilts to help children see one another as individuals who share both similar and different life experiences and who are members of the larger society.

Health, Safety and Nutrition

Interactions with Children

Program Planning and Development

Professional Development and Leadership

  • OPEN is Missouri's career development system for early childhood professionals. To learn more about early childhood professional development opportunities, visit

  • Need to locate child care provider training opportunities? Child Care AwareŽ of Missouri can provide information on training opportunities all over the state. Go to the For Child Care/Early Ed Staff page for more information on training opportunities in your area.

Last updated: 04/12/11


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Last updated: 12/02/15