Professional competencies and standards define the skills and knowledge required by those working in the early childhood and afterschool fields. Because of the profound impact professionals have on the children and families they work with, professional quality matters.
Competence is always developing. It develops from experience, coursework, effective supervision or mentoring and reflective practice.
Professional standards and competencies are used:
- as the self- assessment in an IPDP (Individual Professional Development Plan)
- to provide common expectations and language
- as the framework for early childhood career ladder 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, mentoring and job descriptions
Vermont’s professional development system is based on the following competencies and standards:
CORE KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENCIES
- Core Knowledge Areas and Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals
- Core Knowledge and Competencies for Afterschool Professionals
- Vermont Agency of Education – Professional Standards for Licensed Educators (see table of contents on page 14; Early Childhood: page 46; Early Childhood Special Education: page 54; Elementary Education: page 65)
RELATED KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENCIES
- Knowledge and Competencies for Program Directors working in early childhood and afterschool programs (Program Director Credential)
- Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Competencies (Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Credential)
- M.A.T.C.H Knowledge and Competencies (mentors, consultants and coaches) ( MATCH information)
- Instructor Knowledge and Competencies teaching early childhoood and afterschool professionals (Instructor Information)
In addition to professional competencies and standards, there are program standards and learning standards/guidelines for children. Together, like interdependent gears, these help us measure our quality and define our goals.
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 workers 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.