Start Early. Start well.

Professional Development for All

PD for All is a series of free professional development workshops open to all early childhood professionals who serve young children, birth through Grade 3. The series introduces leading-edge research and innovative practices and also gives participants the opportunity to come together and learn from one another. Watch our highlight video to learn more.

Spring 2022 PD for All Series – Bringing Children's Backgrounds to the Foreground in Their Learning

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute’s Spring 2022 Professional Development for All webinar series will examine the importance of ensuring children have opportunities to learn and develop through experiences that connect new ideas and concepts to their knowledge, interests, and cultural values. Funds of knowledge is a term that refers to the accumulated knowledge children gain through their personal experiences in their households, communities, and cultures through interactions with their family, peers, and neighbors. Responsive early childhood professionals intentionally partner with children and their families to enhance children’s learning experiences by tapping into their funds of knowledge, ensuring children have opportunities to engage in learning that is culturally, linguistically, and personally relevant to them. This comprehensive spring PD for All series will provide options for participants to gain knowledge, and plan, implement, and reflect on how to tap into children’s funds of knowledge. The goal is to promote deeper, more engaging, and effective learning experiences. 

Webinar 1, Tapping Into Children's Funds of Knowledge
March 10

The first webinar set the stage for learning throughout the series by defining funds of knowledge and how using this approach guides educators to bring children’s backgrounds to the foreground in their learning. Drs. Carla Amaro-Jimenez and Peggy Semingson from the University of Texas Arlington shared practical strategies for drawing on the strengths and resources that families bring to learning experiences in and out of school, drawing on ideas from the funds of knowledge theoretical framework.

Webinar 2, Shifting From Teacher to Learner: Transforming Teacher-Family Relationships
April 6

In the second webinar, Dr. Anne Karabon from the University of Nebraska at Omaha shared research-based strategies to build deep, authentic partnerships with families to inform pedagogical decision-making, while Portia Kennel from the Buffett Early Childhood Fund shared lessons learned from her real-world experiences partnering with families and building community connections. 

Webinar 3, Why Cultural, Linguistic, and Personal Relevance Matters
May 3

The third webinar explored the value of a comprehensive approach to providing what individual learners need to strengthen learning and development. Amy Schmidtke, director of professional learning at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, facilitated an engaging webinar to unpack why cultural, linguistic, and personal relevance matters. A panel discussion featuring local early childhood practitioners discussed how they have created environments and implemented activities that build upon children’s funds of knowledge.

Book Study: Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation
Wednesdays, starting April 27, 7-8 p.m. CT

Cultivating children’s funds of knowledge capitalizes on the strengths and knowledge children bring with them into the classroom. But how can we successfully implement these culturally responsive teaching and equity practices in our learning spaces? Join the book study to explore authors Floyd Cobb and John Krownapple’s approach in their book Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation. This four-part series, facilitated by the Institute’s Melissa Cleaver and Dalhia Lloyd, will provide keys to unlock our potential to maximize children’s funds of knowledge. Participants will engage in meaningful conversations and collaborate to deepen their understanding of creating a culture of dignity with the children and families we serve. 

April 27 - The Keys: Chapters 1 & 2
May 11 - The Keys: Chapters 3 & 4
May 25 - The Keys & How to Begin Using Them: Chapters 5 & 6
June 8 - Using the Keys: Chapters 7 & 8

Community of Practice for Early Childhood Educators: Funds of Knowledge in Children's Learning
Tuesdays, June 7, 14, 21, and 28, 6-7 p.m. CT

Communities of practice provide opportunities for educators to share ideas and learn from one another about how to implement high-quality classroom practices. This four-part series, facilitated by two local early childhood educators and the Institute’s Dr. Amy Schmidtke, will engage educators working with children from birth through Grade 3 to deepen their understanding of the funds of knowledge approach and to support one another as they bring this learning to life in their classroom practices for the children in their care. Educators will focus on how to learn from families, integrate community assets into the classroom, and help children connect meaningfully to the curriculum through what is personally relevant to them. 

PD for All is a critical piece of the Superintendents' Early Childhood Plan, developed by the Buffett Institute and funded by the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

Early childhood professionals who participate in these webinars are eligible to receive in-service certificates approved by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Explore More: Using Technology in Early Childhood Education

Throughout 2020, young children engaged with digital technology like never before as early childhood professionals creatively adapted to a “new normal.” While this shift presents incredible opportunities for children’s learning and development, it also poses questions about appropriate and effective uses of technology in early childhood.


The Buffett Institute is proud to offer a new collection of on-demand resources for early childhood professionals in individual or group settings. Featuring Dr. Chip Donohue, founding director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute and senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media, these videos and learning guides offer specific and practical information for the equitable use of technology in classroom and child care environments.


Technology Integration in the Early and Elementary Years

  • This video session examines how intentional and appropriate use of technology supports healthy child development, promotes early learning and early literacy, and encourages social-emotional development while addressing the values of quality, continuity and equity.
  • The professional learning guide takes viewers through “bite-sized” segments of the video, providing opportunities to practice and apply concepts discussed in the recording.


Digital Storytelling: Technology Tools That Support Children’s Documenting, Demonstrating, Sharing, Saving, Reflecting, and Revisiting

  • This video session explores how children can use digital storytelling to “show what they know” and how it can support teaching, family engagement, and documenting learning for all students.
  • The professional learning guide offers a three-part plan to walk early childhood professionals through the knowledge and skills they need to effectively implement digital storytelling with children.




Click here for presentations, videos, and resources from our Professional Development for All institutes.


For more information about Professional Development for All, please contact Kimberlee Telford at

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