Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards

Competences and Standards

The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative's Landscape Analysis Series takes a deeper look at key questions left unanswered concerning the global early childhood development workforce:

  • What do early childhood professionals and paraprofessionals need to know and do in order to perform effectively?
  • How do requisite knowledge and skills vary across contexts?
  • What types of training and support do staff receive?
  • How is the early childhood workforce recruited, monitored, and evaluated?

The first of these analyses, Strengthening and Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: Competences and Standards, deep dives into competences and standards. Competences and standards were of particular importance to our research because of their ability to:

1. increase the relevance of training and professional development,
2. enhance the quality of monitoring and mentoring opportunities,
3. support professionalization of the workforce, and
4. support workforce planning efforts.

This research, published in January of 2018, used an extensive review of published and grey literature to yield six key findings related to the ways in which countries have used competences and standards to support early childhood systems globally.

About the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative

Strong and growing evidence on the impact of early childhood development (ECD) services on children’s development has contributed to efforts to increase access to ECD programs, although there are persistent challenges related to ensuring their quality. Although evidence indicates that the workforce is one of the most important factors influencing quality of center-based services, relatively little is known about it. Through the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) – a multi-stakeholder effort to support and empower those who work directly with young children led by the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development (R4D) – R4D is carrying out a series of country studies to understand the experiences and challenges faced by those in particular roles in several countries. The country studies intend to focus on a range of roles including professionals and paraprofessionals, paid and unpaid workers, and frontline workers and managers, from the education, health and nutrition, and social and child protection sectors. 

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