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Professional Standards, Core Knowledge and Competencies

Professional Standards, Core Knowledge and Competencies

Professional Standards, Core Knowledge and Competencies are the foundation of a professional development system.  Professional Standards are widely accepted expectations for what professionals should know to be competent.  Core Knowledge identifies what individuals providing early care and education experiences need to know in order to facilitate child learning and development. Competencies identify the observable skills that individuals providing early care and education experience need to facilitate child learning and development.

Core Knowledge and Competencies can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Early Childhood Professionals
    • Self-assessment to identify strengths and areas of growth
    • Create a professional development plan
    • Make informed decisions about a career in early childhood
  • Program Administrators
    • Clarify and communicate knowledge required of staff
    • Identify training and staff development needs and formulate staff development plan
    • Assess current staff to identify knowledge gaps for the purpose of recruiting new staff with a higher level of competency
    • Link level of competency to compensation level
  • Developers and Providers of Training
    • Organize, identify and advertise training using Core Knowledge areas and levels
    • Assess current offerings across all content areas and levels of competency
    • Use as framework for developing comprehensive systems of training
  • Higher Education
    • To develop and facilitate articulation between institutions of higher learning
    • Evaluate course content and guide future course development
    • Use as a basis for mapping to state and national ECE content standards
  • State and Local Agencies
    • Develop policy, initiatives and funding that will increase the level of competency of early childhood professionals
    • Identify common goals to improve inter-agency coordination
  • Early Childhood Advocates
    • Educate parents, policymakers and general public about the areas of professional practice in early childhood and the need for competent professionals
    • Reinforce the concept of professionalism for the field of early childhood
  • Parents
    • Assess content knowledge of potential or current caregivers and teachers of their children
  • Others
    • Appreciate the degree of knowledge and skill required for professional competency in early childhood
    • Support public and private investments, incentives and initiatives that encourage and facilitate professional competency

Many thanks to our colleagues at the Ohio Professional Development Network for permission to adapt the above information!