As an early learning PD firm specializing in science-based approaches to behavior change, we take research seriously. Research informs our mission, our approach, our PD, and our understanding of the challenges our clients face. 

Example of the research informing PD for teachers

Why Teachers Need Help

Early learning teachers are desperate for solutions to their number one challenge: problematic behaviors in the classroom. 

90 %
of ECE teachers experience problematic behaviors (1)
45 %
of ECE teachers are battling mental health challenges and burnout (2)
40 %
is the projected annual turnover rates for ECE classrooms (3)
30 %
of children in ECE classrooms display problematic behavior (4)

1  |  23  | 4 

The Impact of COVID
  • In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declared a national emergency in children’s mental health as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (AAP, 2021).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the essential role ECE programs play in a successful and functioning economy.The pandemic hit the childcare sector especially hard creating a set of acute challenges significantly impacting the well-being of teachers and children. Programs continue to struggle to stay open as a result of declining enrollment, continued Covid-19 infections, and difficulties recruiting and retaining staff. (Zang et al., 2021).
  • Considering the adverse consequences of early onset behavioral difficulties, the frequency of these difficulties in ECE environment, the high levels of stress experienced by ECE teachers, and the impact of the pandemic in exacerbating concerns related to well-being and worsening inequities, there is a crucial need for evidence-based interventions that support teaching practices and promote well-being.
The Impact of Challenging Behaviors on Teachers
  • ECE teachers report challenging behaviors as the most significant concern in their classrooms and state that effectively managing behavior is one of their greatest training needs (Gilliam & Reyes, 2018).
  • Aggressive and disruptive behaviors in children have been associated with teacher stress (Garbacz et al., 2014).
  • Elevated stress seems to be a common experience among ECE teachers (Buettner et al., 2016).
  • In fact, teaching is one of the most stressful occupations in the U.S (Greenberg, et al. 2016).
  • Evidence suggests that teacher stress interferes with positive teacher-child relationships and can lead to an increase in behavioral problems and disruptive behaviors in the classroom (Jeon et al., 2020, Smith & Lawrence, 2019)
Behavioral Health Impacts on Children
  • Issues with behavioral health often manifest themselves in early childhood, and, if not addressed, continue and worsen over time, leading to academic and social difficulties, school drop-out, criminality and antisocial behavior (Gilliam et., 2016).

The Solution

The struggle for early childhood teachers may be real, but there is hope! Since we opened our doors in 2020, we've developed a suite of professional development solutions specifically designed to help teachers achieve behavior change in their classrooms. 

Research Alignment

Our programs are built on research-based practices for effective professional development. Click the research below to learn how FirstDay Learning's approach aligns with proven methods. 

It is crucial that adult learners understand why they are learning what they are learning (Woodward, 2007).

FirstDay Learning modules and professional development offerings consistently identify the core problems being addressed and clearly outline the “Big Ideas,” concepts, and methods involved in addressing those problems.

Adult learners need to be able to see learning as a process of analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and application (Stevens, Gerber, & Hendra, 2010).

FirstDay Learning offerings are designed to help participants draw connections between content and their everyday experiences outside of the classroom, synthesize those connections with their own teaching practice, and evaluate the impact of these connections, before planning for implementation in their own specific contexts.

The use of and connection to prior knowledge as a means of promoting adult learning is well supported (Stevens, Gerber & Hendra, 2010).

FirstDay Learning offerings consistently encourage participants to reflect on and share their own professional experiences, success, and failures. FirstDay Learning creates environments where participants are seen as experts who have valuable insight to share with one another, leading to collaborative efforts and positive relationships.

The instructor in adult learning should be a facilitator of learning and discussion rather than solely an imparter of information (McGrath, 2009).

FirstDay Learning offers expert facilitators with years of experience in early childhood education, coaching, training, and professional development. Our facilitators aim to put participants in the spotlight as often as possible.