Welcome to the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals Training Modules!
Early childhood practitioners are those professionals (regardless of early childhood setting) who provide direct instruction and/or care to young children. Common job titles for practitioners include: teacher, assistant teacher, provider, and caregiver. Practitioners may use the Core Competencies as a self-assessment tool or checklist.
Early childhood program administrators are those professionals who are responsible for planning, managing, implementing, and evaluating early childhood programs. Common job titles include: center director, site manager, school administrator, program manager, coordinator, and principal. Administrators may use the Core Competencies to identify areas of need, create targeted professional development plans for the entire staff or individual practitioners, and to evaluate the appropriateness of training offerings.
What the Training is About
Throughout the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators training, you will learn about the core competencies found in the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document, developed by the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office (THSSCO), in collaboration with the Texas Early Learning Council (TELC). This training was designed for use by early childhood professionals to improve the quality of care and education young children receive. The content and structure of the competencies can be thought of as a framework for assessing knowledge and skills, guiding training and professional development opportunities, and monitoring progress.
The Core Competencies are very important to the early childhood field of practice. Demonstrating ability and excellence in any profession requires the mastery of different competencies related to the job. There are concepts, practices, and knowledge that early childhood practitioners and administrators must know and be able to demonstrate in order to be effective in facilitating children’s growth and development.
Core competencies are defined as an individual’s demonstrated skills and abilities. The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document lists observable skills that, when accomplished, demonstrate competency in a particular area of knowledge.
Upon completing this training, you will be able to:
- Identify the core competency areas;
- Identify core concepts of each core competency area;
- Describe select observable competencies under a core competency area sub-category; and
- Identify strengths and development areas for professional growth.
Why the Training is Important
Studies of early learning programs have repeatedly demonstrated that early childhood classroom experiences can improve young children’s academic and social skills upon school entry with many effects sustained through adolescence. These benefits are closely linked with the quality of teacher-child interactions and instructional support children receive while in care. Unfortunately, numerous observational studies of early care and education classroom experiences have demonstrated that typical child care quality is mediocre at best and, for most children, does not reach threshold levels of quality associated with positive outcomes. Evidence also shows that while the average pre-k classroom is characterized by moderate to high levels of sensitive emotional supports, instructional content is of rather low quality, particularly for children with low-income backgrounds. An important step toward enhancing children’s outcomes is increasing the prevalence of high-quality teacher-child interactions in the classroom.
While early learning guidelines tell us what children need to know and be able to do, the core competency framework integrates this information with processes in which children and their families interact with practitioners in the classroom or program context. Core competencies for early childhood practitioners clearly articulate the knowledge and skills all types of early childhood practitioners should possess in order to provide responsive, rich experiences. Competencies can play an instrumental role in the evaluation and improvement plans of local programs by helping decision makers identify the strengths and professional development needs of their staff, and providing a structure for tracking program improvement. These competencies also support change by guiding the development of high quality training and coursework that is grounded in evidence-based practices and adapted to the needs of learners with different levels of knowledge and mastery.