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Core Competencies

What are Core Competencies?

Nevada’s Core Knowledge Areas and Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Professionals were developed in response to research findings indicating that professional education for Early Care and Education (ECE) practitioners is essential to the quality of care and education provided. Caregiver actions have also been shown to make a difference to the future learning capabilities and success of children (Barnett, 2003). This document is designed to be a practical self-assessment tool that may be used in a variety of ways regardless of your role (caregiver, supervisor, trainer, career counselor, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) faculty, etc.) or the setting in which you work. Use of this document is completely voluntary at the time of its approval in June 2006.

What is the difference between Core Knowledge Areas and Core Competencies?

While Core Knowledge Areas (CKA) are a set of content areas that define what caregivers should know and understand in order to provide quality experiences for children,  Core Competencies are a set of observable skills that reflect a caregiver’s knowledge and understanding of the CKA. The competencies identify skills at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of professionalism related to providing quality Early Care and Education and help to standardize the expectations for ECE professionals. Competencies are based on nationally accepted standards and best practice in the field of ECE.

Linkages to Other Parts of the Professional Development System in Nevada

Core Knowledge Areas (CKA) and Competencies were developed as part of the growing professional development system in Nevada. Consideration was given to how these components support, enhance and otherwise affect other parts of the system. As noted below, there are several clear linkages that can be made.

Connection to the Career Ladder 

The CKA and Competency levels support the framework of the Nevada Early Care and Education Professional Career Ladder and provide the foundation for the professional development system. They provide a roadmap for individual professional growth that becomes increasingly more specialized as higher levels of formal education are achieved. Completion of formal education in ECE results in advancement along the Career Ladder.

Connection to Nevada's Training Approval System  

The CKA are an important part of Nevada’s training approval system and are reflected in all training that is approved by The Nevada Registry. Because approved training is categorized by CKA, caregivers and trainers can search for training by CKA on the Registry’s website and use that information to distribute their learning and instruction across all eight areas. This helps create a balanced approach to participating in professional development opportunities as well as affords trainers the opportunity to identify gaps and offer training in areas where there is limited availability to better meet the needs of professionals in the field.

Connection to Nevada's Pre-Kindergarten Standards  

Knowledge of the Pre-K Standards is embedded within the Core Competencies. While the Pre-K standards act as a guide for child outcomes, the core competencies focus on the preferred outcomes for the adults who care for young children. It is believed that early childhood teachers who provide quality learning environments and experiences for young children will help those children meet the goals set forth in the Pre-K Standards.