Professional development for school-age practitioners is primarily delivered through regionally based school-age specialists.  For information about professional development available in your area, visit the PD Registry or Early Learning Resource Center (visit and search by county or zip code).

The sessions listed below are statewide modules that have been developed to support school-age practitioners meet specific professional development requirements in Keystone STARS.


Links to Learning Foundations (6 hrs.)

  • A six hour professional development event, developed by NIOST, to support practitioner understanding of the role of afterschool in providing complementary supports to insure developmental progress of children. Participants learn how to guide curriculum planning in afterschool and how to link activities to learning standards and quality standards.  The content also explores theme and project based learning and how they are beneficial to children in afterschool programs.
  • Links to Learning Foundations may be delivered as individual sessions in which case the following content must be completed: 1) Introduction & Theoretical Framework, 2) Curriculum Planning, 3) Linking Activities to Benchmarks and Learning Standards, and 4) Theme and Project based Learning.
  • Keystone STARS-Content will meet Learning Standards Core Series requirement for school-age practitioners

Links to Learning: Coordinating and Communicating with Schools

  • This session explores ways to increase linkages between school and afterschool, focusing on specific strategies to build relationships, to increase communication and coordination between the program and the school, and work on curriculum together.
  • Keystone STARS-Content supports Partnerships with Family & Community

Links to Learning: Engaging Families

  • This session will focus on the importance of family engagement in afterschool with regard to children’s learning and development. Participants will explore practical ways to engage families and develop a plan for better family engagement.
  • Keystone STARS-Content Supports Partnerships with Family & Community

Using Portfolios to Bring Out the Best in School-Age Children (6 hrs.)

  • A six hour professional development event to support the successful implementation of Portfolios to support children’s development and enhance program quality.  The session may be delivered as two, three hour sessions titled: Part 1 of 2 – Supporting Children’s Development & Enhancing Program Quality; Part 2 of 2  – Preparing for Success Implementation of Portfolios
  • Participants will learn about how Portfolios in school-age programs can be used as a tool: to document children’s growth and development; for program planning and implementation; for helping children reflect on their experiences and set goals; for sharing important information about children’s experiences with parents; for professional development.  Information will be shared about using developmental checklists as a framework for portfolio development; analyzing completed checklist and related documentation; and comparing and linking checklists to the Pennsylvania Child Service Report and the Key Areas of the PA Learning Standards.
  • Keystone STARS-Content will support Observation/Curriculum/Assessment at STAR 3 & 4 for school-age practitioners.

School-Age New Staff Orientation

Fifteen hours of professional development designed to help individuals become familiar with their new program, the children in their care, and the field of School-Age Care. Some content included keeping children safe, guiding behavior, activities, environment, professionalism, partnerships. Individuals completing this professional development meet the following:

  • STAR 2 Staff Qualifications requirement for new school-age staff

Self-Learning (online)

Available through the Better Kid Care On Demand online learning system.  Click here to access guide.