The Virtual Lab School at The Ohio State University
Innovative, Research-Based Professional Development for Child and Youth Professionals
The Virtual Lab School (VLS) provides child care professionals an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skill set through an easy to navigate online professional development system.
Designed for the U.S. Department of Defense, the VLS is used by military-affiliated child care and youth development providers to ensure all staff working with military families are equipped to provide holistic, developmentally-appropriate care for children. The flexible nature of the VLS training material allows participants to learn at their own pace, from evidence-based content, videos, and interactive learning materials while receiving support from highly-trained coaches.
The VLS training content offers distinct learning tracks for center-based professionals including direct care providers (infant/toddler, preschool, and school-age), coaches and program managers, as well as family child care providers.
VLS resources are free and publicly available for use by all nonmilitary-affiliated child care professionals at virtuallabschool.org.
Interested in Using the VLS for Your Professional Development?
The VLS content is currently publicly available for use by early childhood professionals; however, official enrollment is not available to nonmilitary-affiliated users or those not affiliated with a partnering organization.
In 2020, the VLS team partnered with the City of Columbus, Future Ready Columbus, Action for Children, and other funders to pilot a professional development program for early childhood professionals and programs in Columbus, Ohio.
Municipalities, organizations, or partnering entities that would like to use the VLS for professional development for child care professionals in their community can learn more by contacting: Inquiries@virtuallabschool.org.
A DoD, USDA, & OSU EHE HDFS Collaboration
The VLS is a collaboration between The Ohio State University, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which began around 2010.
The VLS was founded by Dr. Cynthia Buettner, professor of Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University. The team is now led by Assistant Professor, Dr. Sarah Lang, College of Education and Human Ecology.