Communities of Practice

An Innovative Approach to Training

Designed for early childhood educators who are ready to dig deeper and reflect on their teaching and leading methods, our Communities of Practice offer a new perspective on professional development.

Communities of Practice (COP) are formed by early childhood educators and leaders who share a passion for teaching children and engage in the process of learning how to do it better as they interact regularly and support one another. Most Communities of Practice meet monthly, with the same group of teachers or leaders attending over an extended period of time.

Registration Now Open: Fall 2024-Spring 2025 Communities of Practice 

Registration for the 2024-2025 Communities of Practice (COP) is how open. COPs will focus on a variety of topics and audiences. COPs are free to join, and all sessions are approved for ECE-TRIS credit. Ongoing attendance is a requirement. You can register for each COP by emailing the corresponding trainer. Contact information will be found in each description. Thank you to our sponsors at the Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation, Metro United Way, the Family Child Care Network of Kentucky, and the Jefferson County Regional Collaborative for making this a free professional development opportunity for our early childhood community.

Fall 2024 - Spring 2025 Communities of Practice


PLAY-ology: Rooted in Play

  • Nine-month Community of Practice: September 2024 - May 2025
  • Day and Time: Second Thursday of the month 12:30-2:30 pm (beginning 9/12)
  • Location: 4-C, 908 S. 8th St. Suite 201, Louisville, KY 40203 (map) and other Natural Settings
  • ECE-TRIS credit approved
  • Cost: Free

Description: Dive into the transformative world of play-based learning with our 9-month Community of Practice (COP), PLAY-ology: Rooted in Play. This immersive program is designed for educators, caregivers, and play advocates who believe in the profound impact of nature-based play on child development and learning. Once a month, participants will gather in natural settings to engage in vibrant discussions with peers and mentors, sharing insights and experiences. You'll explore how outdoor environments promote holistic development, enhancing both mental dexterity and physical well-being. By integrating nature-based play into your curriculum, you'll enhance student engagement and gain hands-on tools and techniques to implement play-based learning in various settings.

Join us in PLAY-ology: Rooted in Play and transform your approach to education through the power of nature and play! To learn more about this track and register, please contact Liz Walker at [email protected]


The Language of Art

  • Nine-month Community of Practice: September 2024 - May 2025
  • Day and Time: Third Wednesday of the month 12:30-2:30 pm (beginning 9/18)
  • Location: Hybrid - virtual and in person sessions at 4-C, 908 S. 8th St. Suite 201, Louisville, KY 40203 (map)
  • ECE-TRIS credit approved
  • Cost: Free

Description: Join us on this creative journey as we unlock the power of art-making in early childhood education! In this Community of Practice, we will be guided by the ideas and principles from Ann Pelo's influential book, The Language of Art. We will explore different types of art media each month and learn how to infuse our own practices as early childhood educators with the same artistic spark presented in the book. We will discover practical strategies and techniques to create inclusive and engaging art experiences that celebrate children's creativity, ignite curiosity, foster problem-solving skills, and encourage critical thinking.

Come embark on this monthly creative journey and see how art can unlock new and rich learning opportunities in your classroom!  To learn more about this track and register, please contact Courtney Pearce at [email protected]


Delving Deeper into The Principles and Practice of the Reggio Emilia Approach

  • Nine-month Community of Practice: September 2024 - May 2025
  • Day and Time: Third Thursday of the month 9:30-11:30 am (beginning 9/19)
  • Location: Highland Presbyterian Weekday School, 2114 Highland Ave, Louisville, KY 40204 (map) with tours to some Reggio Inspired Centers
  • ECE-TRIS credit approved
  • Cost: Free

Description: Are you interested in deepening your knowledge of the Reggio Emilia Approach (REA) to Early Childhood Education? Join our 9-session Community of Practice designed for educators eager to refine their skills and understanding. During the course of the sessions, we will explore the foundational principles and philosophy of the REA in greater detail. We will learn how to implement complex, child-centered learning projects and environments, discuss ways to capture and interpret children’s learning processes through various forms of documentation, and share our challenges and solutions to incorporating these principles into our everyday practices within our own early childhood programs.

This is your chance to connect with a community of like-minded educators committed to excellence and innovation in early childhood education.  To learn more about this track and register, please contact Lisa Branstetter at [email protected]


Family Child Care: The Language of Art

  • Nine-month Community of Practice: September 2024 - May 2025
  • Day and Time: Third Tuesday of the month 6:00-8:00 pm (beginning 9/25)
  • Location: 4-C, 908 S. 8th St. Suite 201, Louisville, KY 40203 (map)
  • ECE-TRIS credit approved
  • Cost: Free

Description: Are you looking to boost the creativity of the children in your care? Join our Community of Practice on the Language of Art, designed exclusively for educators in family child care settings. Get involved in hands-on activities, discussions, and idea exchanges to easily bring art into your home-based care. Participate in our monthly training sessions that create a supportive environment for everyone. You’ll learn new ways to inspire creativity in young children, develop inquiry-based art projects, and discover how to document their artistic journeys. Between trainings, take home materials to try out in your program, ensuring practical application of what you’ve learned. Address the unique opportunities and challenges of home-based care with activities that work for smaller, mixed-age groups. Enhance your teaching skills and build a lively, creative learning environment!  This COP will be led by Abigail Black with the assistance of Darice Hancock and Trish Kite-Hannon. To learn more and register, please contact Abigail Black at [email protected]


Director Essentials

  • Ongoing Learning Circle: September 2024 - June 2025
  • Day and Time: Second Wednesday of the month 12:30-2:30 pm (beginning 9/11)
  • Location: Virtual
  • ECE-TRIS credit approved
  • Cost: Free

Description: Join us on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for Directors Essentials, professional development created specifically for directors in child care. Zoom in, engage with other directors in our area, and discuss topics relevant to leading and operating a child care center. We will discuss a new topic each month. Topics such as Guiding Your Program With A Vision, Building and Supporting Community and Belonging, Coaching and Guiding Staff, and The Director's Role of Managing and Leading Staff. To learn more about this track, please contact Angie Kinser at [email protected]. To register, go to our training calendar: www.4cforkids.org/training.

In my first Community of Practice I learned that I am important and what I do is important. Childcare teachers do matter.
Preschool Teacher Training Attendee

I love having conversations with other teachers, hearing others’ perspectives on things.

Child Care Teacher Training Attendee

I’ve been in this field almost 28 years and I see how I have improved myself. I have different kind of skills working with the children.

Early Childhood Educator Community of Practice Participant