Child Care

Pathways to Professional Development

Benefits of Participating in the Career Lattice

  • Strengthen the employment opportunities in the early childhood field. Statistics show there is a high rate of turnover in the early care and education field. Statistics also show offering training opportunities to staff enhances recruitment and retention. A professional development system can provide a means to enhancing recruitment and retention of staff.
  • Improve the quality of care to children. Professional training and education enhances adult caregiver knowledge and skills, which leads to increased quality of care provided to children and families.
  • Offer paths allowing practitioners to further their education and encourage their individual efforts to improve skills and knowledge. The Career Lattice offers recognition for a variety of paths practitioners can follow to continually develop their professional abilities such as:
    • enrichment training,
    • a national recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) credential,
    • apprenticeship,
    • associate's degree, and more.
    • Each practitioner determines her or his own path. Increased compensation should be attainable as people move from one level of the Career Lattice to the next.
  • Encourage the development of articulation agreements supporting a continual pathway for transfer of education credits.
    Training opportunities should support a practitioner's ability to advance her or his career in meaningful ways. Through the Pathways project, practitioners can support efforts early childhood training programs are making to recognize the previous training individuals have completed as they move forward to more advanced training levels.
  • Enhance public recognition of early childhood practitioners as professionals. The foundation of the Pathways project is to promote public awareness of the important role that practitioners play in every community in South Dakota. By registering with the Career Lattice, a practitioner's professional achievements will be recognized within her or his program and local community.
  • Offer support to new early childhood professionals.
    The Pathways project is a professional movement providing training and support critical to retaining qualified people who have a passion for working with children and families.
  • Encourage efforts toward increased compensation.
    The early education field is one of low pay and little or no recognition, partly because there are minimal requirements to open a small child care business or to work in a child care program. Individuals who take the initiative to increase their training and education through the professional development system should see their compensation increase as a result.
  • Combine resources and join forces allowing for more accessible, higher quality training. Individual practitioners, programs, early childhood agencies and organizations need to unite and share resources in innovative ways to increase the availability and affordability of quality training and professional development opportunities.
  • Provide a consumer education tool for parents who have the right to learn about the qualifications an early childhood practitioner should have. The Career Lattice serves as a tool for parents to learn about the qualifications a practitioner should have in order to provide quality care and education to their children.