Professional Competency Frameworks for Early Childhood Teachers: An Exploratory Study of Five Latin American Countries

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Cover report @Yan Krukov / Pexels

The path towards establishing government-wide early childhood public policies varies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. As a result, it has been proposed to the countries of the region to establish an Early Childhood Education Quality Agenda that considers a broad and relevant overview of early childhood, embraces the relationship between learning and development, and emphasizes both structural and procedural factors.

The sixth recommendation of the Declaration of the Regional Forum: Towards Quality Early Childhood Education, highlights the importance of developing a competency framework for those working on the subject, promoting a system of training—both initial and continuous—and certification of competencies that strengthen early childhood care in the region. This study, prepared by Marcela Pardo and Felipe Godoy with the support of the Inter-American Dialogue and the LEGO Foundation, provides the results of an exploratory study of Latin American countries that have made significant advances in the development of competency frameworks for early childhood teachers.

In the five cases studied, the establishment of professional competency frameworks for early childhood teachers was widely recognized by the interviewees as an important advance, due to the following reasons:

  1. Competency frameworks help to strengthen the practice of early childhood teachers;
  2. These frameworks reflect a greater social recognition of the profession;
  3. They make it possible to synchronize the training given by the different training institutions;
  4. The competency frameworks favor the improvement of the quality of training, by safeguarding minimum foundational requirements.

Key recommendations:

  • Define competency frameworks that seek to encompass all early childhood teachers within the country, regardless of the geographical area or institutional dependency in which they work and the age of the children they teach. Accordingly, the objectives sought will be able to permeate the entire system.
  • Incorporate early childhood teachers and their groups as leading participants in the process of building competency frameworks, in order to favor the legitimacy of these skills within the professional field, and to incorporate in their design the pedagogical challenges associated with each of the contexts in which they work.
  • Incorporate ministries and other government agencies involved in the implementation of the competency frameworks from the very beginning of the processes, fostering the necessary political support for their legal institutionalization and the necessary financial support, as required conditions for their effective implementation.
  • Include playtime and games as relevant contents within the frameworks of professional competencies for early childhood teachers, debating within each country the meaning and pedagogical use of this concept.




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