AzAEYC Awarded More than Half a Million Dollars to Support a New Model of Professional Development for Child Care Providers


Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC) is pleased to announce its recent award of $570,000 to implement job-embedded professional development (PD) for early care and education providers around the topic of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). 

This DAP PD project is supported by federal relief funding allocated by the Arizona House Democratic Caucus. In early 2022, the Arizona House Democratic Caucus directed $8.8 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to 10 non-profit organizations – including AzAEYC – working to provide affordable childcare, mental health services, and workforce development to Arizonans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AzAEYC is committed to advancing a well-supported, well-compensated, equitable early childhood profession. Dr. Eric Bucher, AzAEYC chief executive officer, said, “We are so excited for this important opportunity to partner with community collaborators to expand a model of PD where educators are compensated for their time. Through this project, we will seek to build job-embedded opportunities through which educators have reflective, guided opportunities to study their own work with children to strengthen connections and create culturally-responsive, equity-focused early learning environments.”

This project will provide five (5) child care workforce development training series between January 2022 and December 2023. The program will help preschool educators learn how to provide equitable, inclusive early learning environments that help all children and parents thrive. Additionally, the program will seek to better equip preschool educators with effective teaching practices and increase job connection and satisfaction to increase retention in the field.

Using the evidence-based Project ECHO® model in collaboration with Arizona State University College of Health Solutions and other partners, the DAP PD project will offer equitable access to professional learning through a virtual network and empower child care providers in local communities through shared knowledge building. This innovative model for improving educational outcomes aims to amplify educator capacity across Arizona, specifically in rural and underserved areas, by connecting child care workers through guided practice. 

AzAEYC governing board president Mona Qafisheh, M.Ed., C.P.M., explained, “We know that thoughtful, planned PD really moves the needle for early childhood educators and the children they care for. Serving educators in rural and underserved communities statewide will not only build educators’ capacity to understand DAP, but it will also create an equitable space to discuss what children, families, and communities really need.”

AzAEYC will share additional information about the project and partnerships soon. For more information, read the press release from the Arizona House Democrats.


Jo Grammond, M.B.A., AzAEYC Media/Communications Specialist