Course Overview

Virtual Lab School courses support professional development with research-based content and opportunities to build competence in developmentally appropriate practices for all who work with children and adults in child and youth care settings. Each course addresses a broad knowledge area to help learners develop and strengthen their skills with materials, tools, activities, and references that connect back to their program with proven practices that best support children and their families.

VLS Course Offerings

Foundational Courses

To provide a comprehensive approach that ensures quality practices at all levels within care and education programs, the 15 Foundational Courses are coordinated across all six professional Tracks to support the many functional roles in child and youth care settings. The 15 Foundational Courses align with the 13 Functional Areas of the Child Development Associate. Two additional courses address preventing, identifying, and reporting child abuse. 

The Foundation Courses are:

  • 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

Users registered with the VLS system may earn certification in each of the Foundational Courses by logging in and using the progress tracking, assessment, and oversight features. For information about VLS certification features, view Registration Eligibility.

Focused Topic Courses

Focused Topics courses cover specialized and advanced topics; typically shorter than Foundational Courses, they are suitable for a variety of audiences. Current Focused Topics course offerings are listed on the Focused Topics page.

Read more about course content arrangement, and the tools and components associated with each course in the Course Components Overview support article.