A Framework for Reviewing Professional Development Strategies in Child Care and Early Education

Research BriefEarly ChildhoodNov 16 2023

State and territory CCEE leaders typically support a range of PD opportunities for CCEE providers. This highlight presents the Professional Development Matrix for Quality Improvement created by Douglass, Tout, and Doyle.1 The matrix provides a framework for organizing and describing PD that can support CCEE leaders’ decisions about what to fund and how to support evaluation of PD efforts. The highlight also provides examples and summarizes research evidence for each type of PD in the matrix.

Key Highlights

  • State/territory child care and early education (CCEE)a leaders offer a range of professional development (PD) strategies that help providers reach their goals. Considering the “who” (who is receiving the PD?) and “why” (what is the purpose of the PD?) can help ensure that the collection of PD meets the varying needs of the CCEE workforce.
  • Different types of professional development strategies support various goals, and some strategies are more effective at changing practice than others.

This brief is part of the Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis (CCEEPRA) project. CCEEPRA supports policy and program planning and decision-making with rigorous, research-based information.


a Child care and early education (CCEE) refers to caregiving and educational services for children from birth to age 13. CCEE includes center-and home-based settings for infants, toddlers, preschool-and school-aged children. CCEE refers to services for a larger age group than early care and education (ECE), which consists of services provided only for young children (birth to age 5 who are not yet in kindergarten). ECE programs are included within the definition of CCEE.


1 Douglass, A., Tout, K., & Doyle, S. (2021). Considerations for incorporating the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) as a quality improvement methodology in early childhood systems. OPRE Report # 2021-211. Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/report/considerations-incorporating-breakthrough-series-collaborative-bsc-quality-improvement