Innovative, Research-Based Professional Development for Child & Youth Educators

The Virtual Lab School empowers professionals as they build their knowledge and skills around research-based practices in child and youth care and development. This new approach to professional development and learning includes:

  • Expert Narratives
  • Research Based Practices
  • Streaming Video
  • Reflective Questions
  • Downloadable Activities & Resources
Let's Get Started

or learn more about the VLS below...

Tracks

The VLS offers distinct tracks for center-based professionals including direct-care providers, training and curriculum specialists (coaches), and management personnel, as well as a track for home-based care providers who typically care for mixed- age groups.

Center-based Care Tracks

Family-based Care Track

  • FCCFamily Child Care (coming soon)

Courses

The VLS is anchored by 15 Core Content courses that include the 13 Child Development Associate competencies used in early care settings around the world. The Core Content covers research-based developmentally appropriate practices for working with children from birth to age 12 across all the functional roles in child and youth care and education settings.

  • Safe Environments
  • Healthy Environments
  • Learning Environments
  • Physical Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Creative Expression
  • Self and Cultural Understanding
  • Social Emotional Development
  • Positive Guidance
  • Family Engagement
  • Program Management
  • Professionalism
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Child Abuse: Prevention
  • Child Abuse: Identification and Reporting

Structure

Path to Learning

OUR PATH TO


LEARNING

Learn the knowledge and competencies that teachers and caregivers need to be able to support positive outcomes in our children. Evidence-based strategies and topics are aligned with standards leading the child development field.

Path to Exploration

OUR PATH TO


EXPLORATION

Explore context, examples, critical thinking, and discussions about how these skills develop, the evidence to support them, and the best ways to continue your professional growth.

Path to Application

OUR PATH TO


APPLICATION

Apply tools, activities, and exercises that allow you to strengthen your understanding and excel in everyday interactions with children, parents, and colleagues.

Path to Demonstration

OUR PATH TO


DEMONSTRATION

Demonstrate your skills with interactive assessments designed to reinforce your knowledge and experiences.

Collaborators

Our research-based content and professional development resources are free and available to all, thanks to our collaborators:

The Department of Defense Child Development Virtual Laboratory School was developed by The Ohio State University for the US Department of Defense’s Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth under Grant 2012-48711-20101 of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture.