Educational Opportunities

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Regional Enrichment Opportunities

The Early Childhood Enrichment (ECE) System offers a variety of evidence and research-based professional development opportunities. Trainings are accessible to child care providers across the state through in-person, online and on-site delivery. Trainings are offered to not only meet licensing and registration requirements, but to also improve the quality of care. Classes are available for caregivers working in Infant/Toddler, Preschool and Out of School Time settings. Each year, the ECE system develops new trainings to support ongoing professional development for child care and youth development professionals. Click here to view classes available in your region:

Statewide Enrichment Opportunities

The following statewide professional development opportunities are offered to child care professionals and youth development professionals annually. Licensing credit is available. Contact your local Early Childhood Enrichment program for upcoming training dates.


Family Child Care Focused


Infant Toddler Focused


Preschool Focused


Out of School Time Focused


Management/Leadership Focused

Health & Safety Training (Orientation, Level II, Level III)

The ECE system provides child care professionals free online and on-demand training specific to South Dakota while also meeting the federal training requirements. The orientation training is 6 hours long and is required within 90 days after employment for the topic areas below. CLICK here for orientation training:

  1. Prevention and control of infectious diseases
  2. Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleep practices
  3. Administration of medication
  4. Prevention and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions
  5. Building and physical premises safety
  6. Prevention of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma
  7. Emergency preparedness and response planning
  8. Handling and storage of hazardous materials and the disposal of bio-contaminants
  9. Appropriate precautions in transporting children, if applicable
  10. Recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect
  11. Child Development
  12. First Aid
  13. CPR certification

Ongoing on-demand training is offered for staff in these topic areas every 5 years in the Level II and Level III trainings.

Early Learning Guidelines

  1. Approaches to Learning
  2. Social & Emotional Development
  3. Communication, Language & Literacy
  4. Cognitive, Health & Physical Development

The purpose of this series is to familiarize participants with the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines. The goal is for this document to be a resource that improves knowledge of child development, informs age-appropriate expectations for children’s development and learning, and guides plans for developing activities and experiences. The five domains of development covered include: Approaches to Learning; Social and Emotional Development; Communication, Language, and Literacy; Cognitive Development; and, Health and Physical Development.

Family Child Care - Entry Level

  1. Keeping it Safe & Healthy
  2. What Children Need to Learn & Grow
  3. It All Begins with Relationships
  4. The Business of Family Child Care

Individuals starting a family child care business will benefit from this series. Beginning with basic health and safety practices, participants will also explore their role in supporting children in all areas of development as well as each stage of growth. Providing responsive care based on children’s individual needs, and recognizing the importance of positive and respectful relationships with children and families will be covered. Lastly, basic business practices, as well as policy and program management information, will give participants the foundation for meeting licensing regulations.

Family Child Care - Quality Practice

  1. Purposeful Planning: Healthy & Safe Learning Environments
  2. Best Practices in Relationship Building
  3. Developmentally Appropriate Learning Activities in Family Child Care
  4. Professional & Business Practices in Family Child Care

This series is designed for individuals who have established a family child care program and want to take their caregiving practice to the next level. Purposeful planning for children’s physical and developmental well-being, along with comprehensive health and safety planning, will deepen participants’ approach to caregiving. Maintaining respectful and committed relationships with and between parents and children is explored. Through professional and ethical practices, caregivers will discover how to provide high quality family child care. 

Infant Toddler - Entry Level

  1. Ages of Infancy
  2. Social Emotional Development: Understanding Temperament
  3. How Young Children Learn: Appropriate Environments for Infants & Toddlers
  4. Health & Safety for Infants & Toddlers

This series is designed for entry level infant and toddler caregivers. Beginning with the ages of infancy and the developmental needs of the very young, participants will also explore the social emotional needs of infants and toddlers and the role they play in providing age-appropriate guidance. Creating learning environments that are safe for children to explore, as well as basic health and safety practices, will be presented.

Infant Toddler - Quality Practice

  1. Continuity of Care in Small Infant & Toddler Groups
  2. Culturally Diverse Caregiving: Partnering with Parents
  3. Responsive Care and Inclusion of All Infants & Toddlers
  4. Planning Their Day: Routines, Schedules, & Transitions

This best practice series takes a deeper look at infant/toddler caregiving. Participants will learn about the importance of continuity of care and small group sizes when caring for very young children. Partnering with parents to provide culturally diverse care, along with best practice in providing care for infants and toddlers with special needs, will be presented. Finally, participants will discover how to purposefully plan routines, schedules and transitions as they provide high-quality care for young children.

Infant Toddler - Foundations for Social Wellness and Emotional Wellness

  1. Importance of Relationships
  2. Creating Supportive Environments & Routines
  3. Social Emotional Teaching Strategies
  4. Supporting Children’s Success

Each class in this series focuses on an aspect of infant and toddler social emotional development. The role that relationships, supportive environments and routines play in building a foundation for learning is discussed. A variety of teaching strategies that encourage children’s social emotional growth will be shared, as well as how to support children’s success in developing these skills. Also, covered in this class is the importance of understanding the meaning of behaviors and how to help children recognize and express their emotions. 

Ins & Outs of Lesson Planning

  1. Lesson Plan Basics
  2. Developing and Creating Lesson Plans
  3. Using Child Interests, Themes and Projects
  4. Purposeful Activities

The foundation for this series is exploring strategies and techniques for creating lesson plans based on children’s needs and interests. A variety of lesson plan formats will be shared along with activity ideas and ways to plan in a timely manner. Participants will learn different approaches to planning, including the use of themes and projects and how each can lead to quality learning for children. The final class in the series will bring all lesson planning pieces together with participants sharing their ideas, as well as challenges with lesson planning.

Leadership Series

  1. Qualities of a Leader
  2. Observational Assessments and Professional Development
  3. Team Development
  4. Managing Difficult Conversation

This series is designed for individuals in child care management positions. Beginning with a review of the traits of a good leader and the four types of early childhood leaders, participants will self-reflect on their own leadership style. Using observational assessment as a tool for connecting professional development with staff retention rates and program quality will be covered. The essentials for building a dynamic team and strategies for mitigating and resolving conflicts will round out this series.

Management Series

  1. Management Fundamentals
  2. Fiscal Fundamentals
  3. Human Resources Fundamentals
  4. Power of Partnership

This series provides participants with the fundamentals of managing a successful child care program. The importance of effective program management and the affect it has on the child care setting sets the stage for the remainder of the series. Tools to help programs plan and monitor income and expenses are shared in the class covering fiscal fundamentals. Recruitment, retention, training and strategies for evaluating staff is explored in the human resources fundamental class. Lastly, participants will discover the skills needed to build strong partnerships with staff and the community. 

Out of School Time - Quality Practice

  1. Building Relationships with Communities, Families and Schools
  2. Observation, Assessment and Inclusion
  3. Developmentally Appropriate Planning and Curriculum
  4. Guidance and Behavior Management

This best practice series provides participants with a deeper look at several aspects of high quality OST programing. Fostering growth and development through developmentally appropriate environments, activities and interactions will be covered. The use of observation and assessment in planning for and supporting all children in the program will be discussed. Learning how to manage groups and effectively use routines and schedules will provide participants with valuable tools for working in an OST setting.

Out of School Time - Entry Level

  1. Child Growth and Development
  2. Program Health and Safety
  3. Fostering Learning Environments
  4. Behavior Management and Guidance

This series is designed for entry level staff working in out-of-school-time programs. Beginning with an understanding of specific characteristics of school age children and how to plan appropriate environments and activities, participants will gain core knowledge for working in an OST program. The importance of implementing teaching practices that promote health and safety, as well as guidance techniques that are effective in establishing a climate for positive behavior, are all explored in this series.

Preschool - Quality Practice

  1. Best Practices in Preschool Cultural Diversity
  2. Developmentally Appropriate Preschool Curriculum
  3. The Role of Observation, Documentation, & Assessment
  4. Appropriate Guidance & Promoting Behavior

This series begins by looking closely at incorporating cultural practices in caregiving, which includes creating partnerships with parents. Building on children’s needs and interests, participants will discuss planning developmentally appropriate curriculum for preschool-age children. Best practice in using observation, documentation and assessment tools is covered, along with ways to provide positive guidance and help young children build conflict resolution skills.

Preschool - Entry Level

  1. Child Growth & Development
  2. Behavior Management & Guidance
  3. Program Health and Safety
  4. Social Interactions and Learning Environments

This series is designed for entry level preschool caregivers. How to foster the growth and development of children through appropriate learning environments and positive relationships provides the foundation for this series. The importance of promoting and teaching health and safety practices will be discussed. Participants will also explore ways to create a climate that promotes positive behaviors and specific guidance techniques to use with this age group.

Preschool - Foundations for Social Wellness and Emotional Wellness

  1. Importance of Relationships
  2. Environment, Routines and Strategies
  3. Social Emotional Teaching Strategies
  4. Supporting Children’s Success

Participants will learn how important positive relationships are to children’s social emotional development. Best practice in planning environments and activities that impact children’s social emotional development, and how to support positive social behaviors will be presented. Exploring how to help children build their feeling vocabularies, learn problem solving skills, and handle anger and disappointment will give participants valuable teaching tools.

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