Professional Development

A teacher smiling while a group of children work on an activity in a classroom

Researchers in the Anita Zucker Center have been studying professional development for more than 25 years to develop the best strategies for teachers and caregivers. Practice-based coaching has shown great promise in a series of studies conducted in partnerships across the United States.

The BEST in CLASS intervention provides professional development to nearly 200 teachers in early childhood classrooms across Florida and Virginia. Our model combines evidence-based behavioral strategies with a practice-based coaching model designed to optimize implementation by teachers of preschool-age children. BEST in CLASS was designed to increase teachers’ use and quality of specific behavioral and instructional strategies to enhance the quality of teacher-child relationships and the classroom environment.

Professional development opportunities are also extended through embedded instruction, an approach to instruction that promotes child engagement and learning in everyday activities, routines and transitions. In collaboration with others, our researchers are examining the effectiveness of their Tools for Teachers intervention in improving preschool teachers’ implementation of embedded instruction and other evidence-based practices, including social-emotional and behavioral teaching practices.

The Tools for Teachers intervention was adapted for local educational agencies in three California school districts to pilot professional development. Designed for California preschool teachers serving children with individualized education programs, the work is benefiting teachers, families and children in Los Angeles, Fresno and Santa Clara.

View our recent publications related to professional development and embedded instruction.