Illinois Trainers Network

The Illinois Trainers Network (ITN) has over 150 specialized trainers who have each made a long-term investment in improving professional development for early care and education and school-age professionals.

ITN provides opportunities for early care and school-age practitioners and educators to pursue professional development through high quality and accessible trainings. All legally operating early child care and education and school-age programs in Illinois have access to ITN services. ITN trainings are scheduled through your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency.

To find more information on ITN trainings or to locate trainings in your area, please visit the Statewide Online Training Calendar or contact your local CCR&R.

Trainings with online indicate that training is available to take online through the Gateways ilearning System. To see a list of available trainings, please click on the following link:

The Gateways ilearning System is home to various online trainings hosted by INCCRRA, Gateways to Opportunity, and links to other training entities. Included are online training resources to make your online learning easy and enjoyable. General e-learning and technology resources and tools are also available for viewing.


ITN Curricula Trainings

  • An Introduction to the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) (4 hours): This training is for center-based programs and family child care providers and offers an overview of the Environment Rating Scales. The Environment Rating Scales are user-friendly assessment tools that measure the quality of the learning environment for infants through school-age children.  After completing this training, participants will be able to use the tool(s) for program self-assessment and improvement planning.

  • An Introduction to the Family Child Care Rating Scale (4 hours): This training is for family child care practitioners and provides an overview of the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scales (FCCERS).  FCCERS is a user-friendly assessment tool used to measure the quality of the learning environment.  After completing this training, participants will be able to use the tool for program self-assessment and improvement planning.

  • An Introduction to Transitions (3 hours): Participants will recognize the effects of various types of transitions – including activity, classroom, program, family and community – on families and a child’s learning and development.  Participants will be provided with strategies to assist families in times of transition, as well as identify specific types of transitions that impact children and families. online

  • Basics of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Practice (3 hours): In this training, participants will learn about the complexities of culture and how culture impacts interactions with families and other professionals. Through discussion and group activities, participants will explore their own cultural competence and awareness. online

  • Caring for Mixed-Ages of Children: In this training, participants will define developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) as well as recognize the importance of DAP when caring for mixed-ages of children. Components of a safe and healthy family child care environment serving mixed-ages of children will be discussed as well as identifying areas for program improvement.
  • Creating Individual Professional Development Plans (3 hours): Participants will define and explain the value of professional development.  This training will assist in recognizing the relationship of staff development to Continuous Quality Improvement. Participants will also be able to identify the components of an effective professional development plan. online

  • Early Childhood Developmental Screening (7.5 hours): This training reviews child growth and development in early childhood environments. A review of several commercial screening tools is discussed to allow child care practitioners more options on monitoring a child's typical development. Case studies provide hands-on learning for the participant on use of a developmental screening tool and guidelines for referral to an early intervention program.

  • Family and Community - Partners in Learning (3 hours): The benefits of strong family and community engagement practices in the child care setting will be the basis of discussion.  Participants will identify the strengths of current family and parent policies, as well as discuss strategies to develop a strengths-based family and community engagement plan. online

  • Finding a Curriculum that Works for You (4 hours):Participants will define developmentally appropriate practice and review the benefits of various curricula approaches.  Through group activities and discussion on the use of effective curriculum, participants will be able to determine which curriculum approach best fits their program. online

  • Foundations of Family Child Care (15 hours): The Foundations for Family Child Care is a 15 hour training that is great for newer or potential family child care providers.  During this training, participants will learn about licensing, setting up their program as a business, environments, parent communication, health and safety, nutrition, discipline and developmental activities.

  • Fundamentals of Child Assessment (3 hours): Participants will be introduced to the essentials and importance of conducting child assessments in early childhood programs. Through discussion and group activities practitioners will learn the different types of assessments, why assessments are needed, and how assessments are used to plan for children’s learning. online

  • Gateways Level 1 ECE Credential Training (16 modules each 3 hours): ECE Level 1 Credential Training is designed to introduce you to general child development, health and safety, school age care, observation, environments for children, and the importance of relationships with children and their families. In this hands-on, practical training you will meet others who are new to the Early Childhood field or are considering a career working with children. online

  • Gateways School-Age and Youth Development Credential Level 1 Training (16 modules each 3 hours): The Level 1 School-Age and Youth Development (SAYD) is an interactive training series for practitioners who work within School-Age & Youth programs in Illinois.  It will build practitioner awareness regarding various topics specific to children and youth between the ages of 5 to 21.  The series combines lectures and hands on activities to increase the retention of knowledge on topics ranging from developmental characteristics, building appropriate relationships, observation and assessment, programming to environment and curriculum, and professional development.

  • Illinois Early Learning & Development Standards (6 hours): This training gives early childhood practitioners an overview of the revised learning and development standards for preschool children ages three to five. Through discussion and small group activities, training participants will learn how to connect the standards with daily practice in their programs. online

  • Illinois Early Learning Guidelines (4 hours): This training gives early childhood practitioners an overview of program guidelines for children birth to age three. The training creates a foundational understanding for providers and practitioners in the field of what children birth to age three are expected to know and do across multiple domains.

  • Introduction to Developmental Screening Tools (3 hours): The process of developmental screening in the early childhood setting is introduced to practitioners.  A review of several commercial screening tools is discussed to provide child care practitioners options in monitoring a child’s typical development. online

  • Off the Shelf and Into Practice: Using Your Curriculum Every Day: This training gives participants an overview of important factors for implementing a curriculum as well as reviewing indicators of a high quality curriculum. Participants will identify strategies for using curriculum in their program every day and produce an action plan for implementing curriculum with fidelity into their program.

  • Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC)(4 modules each 8 hours): Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) is designed to help child care directors and infant/toddler care teachers become sensitive to infants' cues, connect with their family and culture, and develop responsive, relationship-based care. This training takes an in-depth look at cognitive and social-emotional development, encouraging growth within daily routines and tips on setting up appropriate environments for experienced infant and toddler professionals.

  • Understanding and Planning for Continuous Quality Improvement (3 hours): One of the distinguishing characteristics of high-quality early childhood programs is their ability to adapt to change. This training will explore the concept of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) as an essential component of first-rate programs.  Through discussion and group activities, participants will learn the key features of this leadership philosophy, the steps in the CQI process, and how to create a Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQIP) to guide change. online

  • Welcoming Each & Every Child (7.5 hours): This training provides information on caring for children with special needs in typical child care settings. The training helps increase the knowledge and comfort level of participants to enhance their ability to care for young children with disabilities in early childhood environments. Adaptations and modifications that will assist all children to participate in activities will be discussed. This meets the DCFS requirement for early childhood providers in special care inclusion training. online


ITN Specialty Trainings

  • National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) Accreditation Assistance: includes an accredited NAFCC observer coming to family child care homes and helping with any of the following: accreditation information, mock observations, and actual observations. Accreditation information is a two-hour information session given to a group of interested family child care providers. A mock observation is when a NAFCC observer will explain the difference between personal definitions of quality and NAFCC’s standards.

    For information contact:
    Family Child Care Accreditation NAFCC Foundation
    5202 Pinemont Drive
    Salt Lake City, Utah, 84123
    Phone: (801) 886-2322
    Web site



Gateways to Opportunity is funded by public and private support including the McCormick Foundation, the Grand Victoria Foundation,    

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