Core Competencies

North Dakota Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Practitioners

Competency means knowing how to do your job well. Doing a job well is the result of preparation and of learning the specific knowledge and skills that are required on the job. In the field of Early Childhood, there is a well-defined knowledge base and clearly identified skills that practitioners must use on the job to support children’s healthy early development and learning. As an Early Childhood practitioner, it is your responsibility to be competent on the job every day - in other words, to base all your decisions and actions with children on solid knowledge of how young human beings develop, learn, form relationships, and start the journey to a healthy, productive life.

To help Early Childhood practitioners identify the knowledge and skills needed to be competent on the job, the core competencies are divided into eight content areas. Each of the eight areas contains five levels that range from the skills and knowledge of a beginning practitioner to the more advanced skills and knowledge possessed by a professional with a master’s degree. The core competencies are designed to serve as a guide for improving your work with children and families. The competencies are worded so they can be measured or demonstrated.

The North Dakota Core Competencies for Early Childhood Educators and Practitioners have been adopted for the Growing Futures Professional Development Plan and are used to define the knowledge and skill to gain as you complete training. The Career Pathways are set up to encourage you to complete at least ten (10) clock hours of training in each Core Competency Area as the starting point to becoming a knowledgeable, skilled, and competent practitioner. Each step on the Career Pathways lays the foundation for the next, starting with the basics of Health and Safety, and establishing a Learning Environment and Curriculum. At Career Pathways Category C, you expand your knowledge by learning more about Child Development, Interactions with Children, and ways to Assess Children’s Development and Learning. At Career Pathways D, you complete your basic knowledge with Communicating with Families, Program Evaluation, and Professionalism. By completing the Core Competency training outlined in the Career Pathways Categories A-D, you gain 120 hours of basic training in the fundamentals of being a knowledgeable, competent practitioner. This package of training also meets the education requirements for the national CDA Credential, the most widely recognized Early Childhood professional credential across the United States.