two teachers playing with two preschool children

Early Childhood

In New Jersey, about 70% of children under the age of six have working parents. During these years, infants and toddlers will experience their most rapid stages of development and build brain connections that are foundational to their socio-emotional health and future learning. Very young children must be in high-quality care provided by well-prepared, early educational professionals.

Our Work

Grow NJ Kids Training Services (GNJKTS) provides professional development and technical assistance that builds the capacity of 65,000 professionals in early care and learning workforce. We support the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System known as Grow NJ Kids, an initiative to broaden awareness of quality early care, benchmark quality indicators, and create a stronger infrastructure of early care and education programs. GNJKTS is funded by the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development.

GNJKTS delivers an array of training courses that guide professionals in applying evidence-based classroom curricula, administering developmental screening tools, implementing performance-based assessments, utilizing environmental rating scales, and promoting developmental milestones for children in their care. Our team develops training content and coordinates educational offerings during the day and evening. All coursework is delivered in English and Spanish. Our learners include providers from community-based programs, Head Start programs, school districts, and family child care homes.

teachers and young children in early childhood classroom
image showing four types of grow learners/providers

In 2023, GNJKTS trained 22,026 early care professionals in a variety of topics in English and Spanish. Ninety percent of our learners respond to our course surveys, offering us valuable feedback about our instructors, learning content, application of learning to everyday work, and strategic planning considerations for the system. Results are overwhelmingly positive, reporting that our work increases their knowledge, helps them learn, and offer practical and relevant application to their work with young children.

Recent Accomplishments

In 2023, Grow NJ Kids Training Services:

  • Launched the Business Practices Training and Technical Assistance series to support Child Care Center Directors and Family Child Care Providers. Sessions are available in English and Spanish on topics such as Marketing, Technology, and Leadership.
  • Represented IFF at the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) National Conference in Alexandria, Virginia presenting “A Multi-Layer Collaborative Model Approach to the ERS in New Jersey Pre and Post Pandemic”.
  • Presented at the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
wooden blocks spelling 2023 on desk

Impact

Very useful and informative

"The information I learned in the training was very useful and informative. If a situation occurs, I now know what to do, step-by-step, and who to notify in case of an emergency or situation." - Health, Safety, and Child Growth and Developmental/Mandated Reporting: Basic Requirements for Licensing

Sharpened my abilities

"I will use my knowledge accordingly with my current knowledge of teaching. I believe I have sharpened my abilities now that I have taken the training. It allows me to be more aware of the student's needs." - Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Educators

Develop healthy cultural identities

“I will implement what I learned to help students develop healthy cultural identities and try to reduce prejudice." - Supporting Dual Language Learners and Building Cultural Responsiveness

Developmentally appropriate practices

“I will use what I learned in this training to enhance my infant and toddler program to developmentally appropriate practices and more activities to stimulate their brains.” - NJ Birth to Three Early Learning Standards Overview

Interaction and scaffolding increased

“I have returned to work and have used my learned knowledge to arrange the classroom and have the appropriate material in the classroom. Also my interaction and scaffolding has increased.” - NJ Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards Overview

Importance of developmental screening

“I will use the information I learned by helping the parents and other guardians/carers understand the importance of developmental screening. I will share some resources and videos which were generously provided by the trainer and facilitators.” - Overview of Developmental Screening

Contact Us

For more information on Grow NJ Kids Training Services, contact us at earlychildhood@ssw.rutgers.edu.