Frequently Asked Questions


  • An innovative 9- or 16-month intensive training program for early childhood leaders. Lead Learn Excel empowers early childhood leaders to create systems and routines that support continuous learning and quality improvement efforts by all staff. Leaders learn how to use data for shared decision-making, and how to facilitate ongoing professional development with teachers through team lesson planning and peer learning groups. Leaders learn through a proven process which provides in-person training sessions, ongoing coaching, peer learning communities, and access to a suite of tools and resources.

  • Also known as job-embedded professional learning, this approach consists of learning that is grounded in the day-to-day practice of leaders and teachers, and is focused on children’s learning and development. With this approach to learning, early childhood professionals collaborate regularly to implement continuous quality improvement efforts.

  • Lead Learn Excel does require dedicated time and focus from an early childhood program team. Our innovative approach to on-the-job learning takes place over an intensive 9- or 16-month engagement. Beyond the time that is required to participate in the program, we ask that participants consider the time required to implement what they’ve learned in their local environments.

    • Instructional Leaders:
      • Participation:
        • 5 days of training throughout 9- or 16-month program, ~1 hour/month peer learning community and ~1 hour/month coaching discussion
      • Implementation:
        • We recommend that Instructional Leaders dedicate ~20% of their working time to instructional leadership practices directly supporting teachers. This may depending on the structure of the leadership team and size of the school or program
    • Professional Development Providers:
      • Participation:
        •  5 days of training, ~1 hour/month peer learning community and ~1 hour/month coaching discussion
        • Additional 4 days of training and 4 pre-training webinars
      • Implementation (with Instructional Leaders):
        • 5 days/month to deliver coaching to assigned Instructional Leaders
        • Half day/month to facilitate one Peer Learning Community for leaders

    While it is intensive, the Lead Learn Excel approach provides the supports necessary for leaders to change their practice—and sustain those changes over time—in a way that gives children the strong foundation they need for success.


  • The Ounce works with early childhood systems, such as state and local governments or large early childhood providers, to implement Lead Learn Excel. We work with System Leaders to tailor the program to meet their unique needs and identify the Instructional Leaders and local Professional Development Providers who may best benefit from the program.

  • Any leaders responsible for teachers and the quality of instruction in classrooms, such as: program administrators for preschool, Head Start, Early Head Start or child care centers; school principals; assistant principals; early childhood coordinators and special education coordinators; teacher leaders; owners; executive directors; site directors; assistant directors; education coordinators; site coordinators, and family childcare providers.

  • A Professional Development Provider delivers training and coaching for Instructional Leaders or teachers at an early childhood program or within an education system. They may be coaches, quality specialists, trainers or technical assistance providers employed by the systems (or an intermediary).

  • Lead Learn Excel partners with System Leaders to co-plan a tailored professional development experience for their leaders. System Leaders will decide who from their program will participate in the Lead Learn Excel program. System Leaders include state or local government partners, research partners, state professional development systems, and other state systems that have an impact on the delivery of early childhood services to the state.

  • Family childcare providers, including network consultants, and family support specialists, can also benefit from the Lead Learn Excel training program. The program provides value to early childhood education providers in all types of settings, including school, community-based, and homes.


  • The Lead Learn Excel Team works with your state systems to secure approval for the program to count towards your professional development credit. Lead Learn Excel is already approved to provide professional development credit in the following states: Illinois, Oregon, and Tennessee.


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