Professional competencies and standards define the skills and knowledge required by those working in the early childhood and afterschool fields. Because you have a profound impact on the children and families you work with, professional quality matters.
Professional competencies and standards are the foundation of quality in a professional development system. They are relevant to many positions such as teacher, director, assistant, home visitor, coordinator, volunteer, provider, home-visitor, or paraprofessional. They apply to those working in schools, childcare centers, community-based organizations, child care homes, recreation programs, and more.
As early care practitioners become professionals in the early childhood and afterschool fields, it is essential that they know and follow the ethical standards of the profession. Ethical conduct is a key competency of professionals.
Competence is always developing – no matter what your level in the professional development continuum. Competency develops from experience, coursework, effective supervision and reflective practice.
Professional standards and competencies are used:
- to provide common expectations and language
- as the framework for early childhood and afterschool career pathways
- to plan and assess professional development activities and curricula
- as the foundation of a credential
- to develop job descriptions and performance evaluations
- to structure supervision and mentoring