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Wherever you want to go next, The Academy is here to get you there.

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Expand your skills and engage with a national network of educators.

Learn in-demand skills with our on-demand and self-paced as well as live online programs. Each is uniquely designed to be relevant to your career — what you learn today can be immediately applied tomorrow.

Looking to sharpen your skills?

Our credentialing pathways are built for educators at any point in their careers, from those taking on new responsibilities to seasoned professionals. Identify which traits and skills are essential for you to grow, adapt, and succeed. Enroll in a program that will expand your skills—and your career potential.

Learn from the leaders in early childhood development and education.

The Academy is home to expert faculty, all of whom are practicing teachers, coaches, curriculum directors, or educational leaders. We are proud to partner with the following organizations and individuals:

  • Dr. Deborah Bergeron, former
    director of the Office
    of Head Start
  • Belinda Rinker, JD,
    retired Office of Head
    Start senior advisor
  • Dr. Kimberly P. Johnson, DEI expert, professor at Harvard and Clemson Universities, and Head Start alumna
  • And more!

Professional development, designed for you.

The Academy’s schedule is tailored to allow learners to further their careers while balancing work, family, and other responsibilities. Join this network of practitioners who are committed to supporting your success — throughout the program and beyond. Choose classes that best fit your needs.

  • Basic Courses: Ideal for orientation and onboarding purposes, the Basic courses are self-paced and available on-demand. They can typically be completed within one to ten hours. They provide learners with an introduction to various topics.
  • Essential Courses: Dive deeper into specialized content. The Essential courses typically run for four weeks and include online modules, homework, and instructors that are available to assist learners.
  • Credentials: Over the course of two to three months, candidates can expect to spend around 40 hours completing required coursework on their own and in face-to-face sessions with instructors.
  • Certifications: These are opportunities for staff to complete a professional e-portfolio and demonstrate a mastery of skills.


Family Service Certification

This certification provides Head Start family service staff with a chance to demonstrate skills that support family engagement and wellbeing.

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Health Service Certification

This certification provides health service staff the opportunity to demonstrate competency of the essential skills that support children’s health and wellbeing in a developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate manner.

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Mind in the Making Trainer Certification

This program trains early childhood education professionals to coach families and practitioners working with children on best practices identified in Ellen Galinsky’s groundbreaking child development research.

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CDA Training Pathways

This program guides candidates through the entire CDA credentialing process. The self-paced coursework gives learners the flexibility to study on their own schedule while dedicated faculty provide one-on-one coaching and additional support to ensure all of our learners complete the entire CDA program.

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Classroom Management Credential

This program will equip you with three innovative approaches to managing challenging behaviors in the classroom. Hone your classroom management skills with us!

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data literacy

Data Literacy Credential

Educate managers and directors in data literacy; the ability to communicate about the use of data; and basic storytelling with data skills.

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Director Credential

Take a four-month learning journey with other new Head Start and Early Head Start Directors. Here you will dig into a wide range of program leadership topics, including effective leadership development, communication and advocacy, operations, and more.

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Executive Leadership Credential

Join us for a year-long journey to develop executive-level leadership skills, collaborate to solve current challenges, and identify innovative approaches to leading Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

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Fund Development Credential

This online cause selling accelerate helps Head Start leadership and management integrate successful business practices and relationship-driven strategies to help programs build strong connections with donors, increase revenue, and empower their cause.

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Site Leader Credential

This credential explores topics surrounding day-to-day leadership in Head Start and Early Head Start sites. Participants will work on managing and leading teams, setting tone and culture at the site level, and managing the everyday responsibilities that make up Head Start and Early Head Start programming.

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Essential Courses

Bias Busters Essentials

Take your programs’ understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to the next level. This live course ensures everyone on your staff builds a common understanding of unconscious bias to create a more equitable environment.

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Data Essentials

Data Essentials explores how data is used in practice in today’s Head Start world and answers two questions: “How can data be used to make things better?” and “How can I be sure that the data I collect helps children and families?”

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Effective Transitions Essentials

Classroom Management Credential Track

Turn transition time into sound-and-play-based learning opportunities you and your students look forward to every day.

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Financial Wellness Essentials

This Financial Wellness course introduces money smart strategies for the Head Start workforce so staff can focus on what they love.

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Fiscal Essentials

Whether you are budgeting for annual wages and benefits, overseeing renovations to a facility, or responsible for a single site’s overall budget, knowing and complying with all of the fiscal requirements associated with Head Start services is essential. This course goes beyond the basics and covers the fiscal responsibilities of staff who oversee funds and property.

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Health Services Essentials

This course provides an overview of all things related to providing high-quality health services to Head Start and Early Head Start children and their families.

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Music and Movement Essentials

Classroom Management Credential Track

Combining the best of online learning with live coaching sessions, this course helps educators build their confidence in leading music and movement activities that enhance children’s school readiness skills.

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Property Essentials

Property Essentials supports Head Start grant recipients in ensuring their facilities and equipment are safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children, families, and staff.

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Trust First Essentials

Improve classroom management by building a positive classroom culture of safety and trust for children and teachers.

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Basic Courses

Three to ten hours of professional development

Bias Buster Basics

Available in Pre-Service Bundle

Educate and have an open dialogue with your staff on the topics of diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI). This course is the perfect first step in your program’s DEI journey by defining shared vocabulary, language, and values.

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Data Basics

This course explores the role of data in Head Start and answers two questions: “Why do people care so much about data?” and “What does this have to do with me?”

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Fiscal Basics

This course introduces financial basics that everyone in Head Start needs to know. Participants will learn where Head Start funds come from, how they can be used, and the responsibilities staff and governing bodies have as stewards of federal dollars.

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Gardening with Kids Basics

Hands-on experiences in the garden provide young children and the Head Start community with a multitude of benefits! This course gives early educators interested in bringing gardening to their programs a basic understanding of how to get started, including guidance on seeking funding to support their project.

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Head Start Basics

Available in Pre-Service Bundle

This course trains new and returning staff on the basics of Head Start—the program’s history, parent and family engagement, health policies, Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), and more!

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Nutrition Basics

Enhance and expand your nutrition-based programming both in the classroom and for families at home.

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Policy Council Basics

Policy Council Basics provides an overview of Head Start’s structure, helping parents grow as leaders and decision-makers.

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Pre-Service Bundle

Head Start staff have a lot to learn when getting started—both to successfully support children and families and to meet Office of Head Start requirements. The Pre-Service Bundle includes Head Start Basics and Bias Buster Basics, meeting approximately 90% of the professional development required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

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One to two hours of professional development

Active Supervision Basics

Head Start Basics Series

How do you know if you are keeping all of your students safe and accounting for there whereabouts all of the time? This course will provide an effective model and strategies to ensure you are keeping safety as your top priority through active supervision.

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Bloodborne Pathogens Safety Basics

Head Start Basics Series

Children and adults in early care and education programs can be infected with serious viruses or bacteria and not even know it. This course explores best practices from the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to mitigate the potential of this serious risk.

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Early Childhood Health Services Basics

Head Start Basics Series

Health and wellbeing serve as the foundation of school readiness and child development. This course explores how early childhood programs can use Head Start’s whole-child approach to support children, families, and communities on their paths to success.

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Head Start History Basics

Head Start Basics Series

Head Start is the most important social and educational investment in children, families, and communities the United States has ever undertaken. Dive into the program’s rich history in this short two-hour course.

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Head Start Orientation Basics

This one-hour dynamic course provides the basic information required to work or volunteer in a Head Start or an Early Head Start classroom.

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Head Start Program Performance Standards Basics

Head Start Basics Series

What makes Head Start the most high-quality early childhood education program? Explore the revolutionary Head Start Program Performance Standards. First introduced in 1975, this concept inspired a federal standards initiative for public schools and continues to help programs improve and find new ways to help children and their families across the nation.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act & Americans with Disabilities Act Basics

Head Start Basics Series

This course will provide you with a strong understanding of the policies and practices in identifying potential learning delays and disabilities and how to provide additional and appropriate services to children.

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Mandated Reporting & Child Protection Basics

Head Start Basics Series

This course covers general information about the legal responsibilities of mandated reporters and how to recognize and respond to possible abuse or maltreatment. Learners will finish this course knowing who a mandated reporter is, what a mandated reporter’s responsibilities are, and how they themselves must carry out those responsibilities.

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Passenger Restraint Safety Basics

Head Start Basics Series

This course trains early education staff on best practices, standards, and key regulations in Head Start that they can use to keep children and staff safe during transportation. Even for staff who do not typically transport children, knowing the proper way to do so is vital to ensure all staff are equipped in the event of an emergency.

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Property Management Basics

High-quality, well maintained facilities are vital to quality early childhood education programming. This course supports all staff in developing the skills necessary to create safe, healthy, and nurturing environments.

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High-quality, relevant training

4.4/5 stars (922 reviews)

Your Head Start colleagues from across the country are rating their experience at The Academy as excellent or very good.

“This training was engaging and deals with current situations we face every day in this line of work.”

- Bias Busters Basics participant

“This was incredibly informative and tests your knowledge in many ways—from videos, reading, and talking—perfect for every type of learner!”

- Head Start Basics participant

“I think all staff who just get hired should go through all these trainings to learn what the program is all about!”

- Head Start Basics participant

“This course is an excellent foundation for building data capacity within our organization. I hope all Head Start and Early Head Start programs take advantage of this excellent opportunity!”

- Data Basics participant

“The collective knowledge of all those participating is incredible! So much learning. Connections made with others will last a very long time.”

- Director Credential participant

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Faculty in the News:

Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Join creative thinker and thought leader Kimberly Johnson, PhD, to learn the Head Start history you weren’t taught in school with Bias Busters Essentials.