An Introduction to Early Childhood Educator Competencies


♪♪♪ (female narrator)
The California
Early Childhood Competencies include 4 early childhood
educator competency contexts and 12 early childhood
educator competency areas. Each competency context focuses
on a type of professional role or work carried out by
early childhood educators. The context of supporting
early learning and development focuses on being responsive
to the needs and cultural perspectives
of children and families in the early childhood setting. This role requires knowledge
of early child development, curriculum,
and the learning environment, as well as an understanding
of observation and assessment. The context of planning
and guiding early learning and development involves
taking a leading role in being responsive to the needs
and cultural perspectives of young children
and their families. It requires extensive knowledge
of early child development, curriculum, and the
learning environment, as well as skill
and observing and assessing learning and development. The context of creating and
maintaining program policies and practices focuses on
ensuring that early childhood programs are set up to be
responsive to the needs and cultural perspectives
of young children, families, and program staff. Early childhood educators
in this type of role are responsible for the
organizational climate and effectiveness of programs
that serve children and families. The context of advancing
the early childhood profession involves connecting
research to practice, designing
developmentally-appropriate program approaches, and
advocating for the inclusion of diverse children and
families in high-quality, early childhood education. Individuals working in
this context collaborate with community stakeholders to
strengthen early childhood services and promote
opportunities for early childhood educators to
develop professionally. Early childhood educators
within each competency context concern themselves
with 12 competency areas. These areas include:
Child Development and Learning, Family and Community
Engagement, Health, Safety, and Nutrition,
and Special Needs and Inclusion. The competencies
are the knowledge, skills, and dispositions
that, taken together, define high-quality
early care and education. Competent early childhood
educators understand early learning and development, are
skillful in implementing best practices, and recognize
and value the strengths and contributions of young
children and their families. The relationship between
competency areas and competency contexts is dynamic with
early childhood professionals continuing to develop their
competencies in each of the four contexts. Understanding competencies
in every context enables early childhood educators to plan
paths for career development by growing within a context
or by moving from one context to another. For an early childhood educator
working in the context of creating and maintaining
program policies and practices, these competencies may point
to ways to better support her staff’s capacity to be
responsive to all young children and families. For each context the
competencies specify the knowledge, skills, and
dispositions that strengthen the early childhood profession
and lead to high-quality early care and education. Through understanding
the competencies needed in each context, early childhood
educators can move toward a shared vision of how
to grow professionally, how best to provide early
care and education services, and how to foster the best
outcomes for all young children and their families. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪

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