What do high quality caregivers, teachers and administrators need to know?
Pathways Core Knowledge Areas are distinct categories of study that prepare early childhood professionals to facilitate children’s learning and development. For each Core Knowledge Area, there are competencies defining a progressive attainment of understanding, knowledge and skills. As early childhood professionals advance in their careers, the content (competency objective) of the training will become more advanced based on what the professional needs to know at his/her level of experience. Alabama Pathways has adopted eight (8) Core Knowledge Areas with related basic, intermediate and advanced competencies.
Child Growth and Development: Understand how children develop physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and culturally; understand how children acquire language and creative expression; understand the links between development and learning; understand the roles and responsibilities of parents, educators, and caregivers; understand the environmental, biological, social and cultural influences on growth and development.
Health, Safety and Nutrition: Understand the major issues affecting the health and safety of young children; know how to establish and maintain an environment that ensures each child’s healthy development, safety, and nourishment; understand health record keeping and its policy considerations; know how to implement food safety practices, menu planning, nutrition activities for children, CPR, First Aid, and accident and infectious disease prevention.
Learning Experiences and Enrichment: Understand developmentally effective approaches to teaching and learning; know how to establish a learning environment that meets each child’s needs, capabilities, and interests; know how to utilize knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate programs that promote positive development and learning for young children.
Diversity: Understand and value diversity in society; know how to encourage family involvement in early multicultural learning; know how to support anti-bias curriculum in early childhood programs; know how to develop effective methods for working with families of varied cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Child Observation and Assessment (Planning for Individual Needs): Understand methods for observing children’s development, behavior and progress; know how to observe and assess what children know and can do; know how to document children’s growth, development, and learning; know how to use informal and formal assessments to plan activities and individualize programs in order to provide curriculum that meets each child’s developmental and learning needs.
Interaction with Children, Families and Communities: Understand and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities; know how to establish supportive relationships with children guiding them as individuals and as members of a group; know how to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families to be involved in their children’s development and learning; know how to work collaboratively with families, agencies, and organizations to meet children’s needs and to encourage community involvement with early childhood care and education.
Personal and Professional Development: Understand the importance of serving children and families in a professional manner; understand the importance of seeking opportunities for professional growth, including topics such as advocacy, ethics and leadership; know how to use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice; know how to be a continuous, collaborative learner who demonstrates knowledgeable, reflective, and critical examination of her/his work; know how to make informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources; know how to participate in community activities as representatives of early childhood care and education and informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.
Management and Administration: Understand legal, fiscal, and advocacy issues, staff and program development, and supervision and evaluation; understand financial planning and management; understand the principles of leadership, team building, and conflict resolution; understand the principles of adult development and learning; know about the educational facility and its daily operations; know how to effectively implement child care policies and licensing regulations; know how to make determinations of community child care needs and marketing and public relations opportunities.