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2023 Q3 Newsletter

New course offerings, updates, and CDA supports for FCC providers

Selected Content Updates in Q3 2023

The VLS integrates the latest research and best practices into its professional development system on an ongoing basis. Our content team reviews new research and updates made to national guidelines. Selected content updates over the last three months include:

  • Course and Activity Updates for Training & Curriculum Specialists

    The Virtual Lab School team has been reviewing and updating the Training & Curriculum Specialist (T&CS) track to support T&CSs in their role as trainers and coaches for staff in their programs. Physical Development, Learning Environments, and Social Emotional Development are the latest foundational courses to be updated. These revisions include new content, updated resources, and online fillable program tools and reflective activities.

    For specific update highlights, see the September 2023 Three Courses Updated in the Training & Curriculum Specialist Track announcement.

  • New Targeted Professional Development for School-Age Staff and Providers

    Fostering Adult and Peer Relationships in School-Age Programs is a new Targeted Professional Development (TPD) module aimed at school-age direct care staff and family child care providers. This new TPD examines the importance of establishing and maintaining key relationships that are critical to school-ager's social-emotional well-being.

    For specific details regarding the new content, see the August 2023 Newly Released Targeted PD for School-Age Staff and Providers announcement.

  • CDA Activities Available for Family Child Care Providers

    Family child care providers who are interested in achieving their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential can now easily access the supports for building their CDA Professional Portfolio while simultaneously completing their foundational courses in the Virtual Lab School (VLS). The VLS team has intentionally embedded the required Resource Collection Items and Reflective Statements of Competence as Explore or Apply activities within the Family Child Care Track of our foundational courses. The VLS CDA Resources page will provide information and resources that will assist family child care providers in their preparation and application for the CDA Credential.

    For specific details regarding the activities, see the September 2023 CDA Activities announcement.

  • New Focused Topics Course on Culturally Responsive Programs

    Throughout your career as a child and youth professional, you will interact with children and families from culturally diverse backgrounds. Program staff and leaders should reflect on the unique identities of the children in your program, and incorporate culturally sensitive, anti-bias, and anti-racist practices into all you do. To support the expanding diversity found in child and youth programs, the VLS team developed a new Focused Topics course titled Creating Culturally Responsive Programs. It encourages child and youth professionals to identify, explore, and celebrate the diverse identities of children, families, and colleagues.

    For specific details regarding this newest Focused Topics Course, see the June 2023 New Course on Culturally Responsive Programs announcement.

Highlights from the Field and Recent Research

  • Policy Changes May Be the Key to Helping All Children Succeed

    Systemic oppression and targeted minoritization have long impacted families in the United States. In fact, unequal access to supports for children’s development are often rooted in policies that intentionally limit access to resources and create opportunity gaps among various populations. As we strive to provide the highest quality care for young children, it is important to identify how policies and structures in our communities and programs create inequity among children and families, which impacts how children engage with learning. A new report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Closing the Opportunity Gap for Young Children, provides information and policy recommendations for improving equity for all young children. Access to this report is free and does not require a subscription.

    To access this report, visit

  • Upcoming Webinar Offers Strategies for Caregivers

    You may recognize Dr. Iheoma Iruka from lesson videos in the Creating Culturally Responsive Programs Focused Topics Course. This fall, Dr. Iruka and colleague Jani Kozlowski will be hosting a webinar focused on providing strategies for caregivers looking to strengthen their skills related to providing high-quality care for all children in inclusive spaces. Topics of focus include building meaningful relationships with families, refining skills related to equity and inclusion, and building the confidence of caregivers, children, and their families. Registration is free!

    For additional information visit

  • Listening to Head Start Teachers Working with Dual Language Learners in Multilingual Classrooms

    Research conducted at the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy suggests a need for improved support for teachers and child care providers who support dual language learners and their families. While teacher attitudes surrounding the use of home languages in classroom settings were overwhelmingly positive, the same cannot be said for their confidence in training and professional development in this area. Considering how many children under 5 years old are dual language learners, teacher attitudes are a crucial component to understanding how best to support these young children as they develop their language skills.

    For more information, read