Indiana Professional Development Network (INPDN) recently adopted the 2nd edition of the Indiana Core Knowledge and Competencies (CKCs). The CKCs were written with all professionals in the field in mind — whether you work in early childhood programs, school-age programs or efforts that serve the field. Additionally, they offer a road map for professionals to continue on their journeys of lifelong learning.
So what does that mean for all of us in the field? It means we have a new updated tool based upon the latest research. It’s a tool that can assist us in reflecting upon our current knowledge and identifying areas where we may have opportunities for growth. The CKCs are also aligned with the Indiana Early Learning Foundations and ensure that professionals are knowledgeable of the topics that reflect the best practices in working with children. Ranging from developmentally appropriate practice to recent research on brain development to professionalism, the new CKCs directly link to the approaches that have the greatest impact. The revised guidelines can also be utilized to create a professional development plan for each of us in the field that improves the quality of our practice
Indiana’s Core Knowledge and Competencies are comprised of seven different content areas:
- Child and Youth Growth and Development
- Health, Safety and Nutrition
- Observation and Assessment
- Learning Environment and Curriculum
- Family and Community Engagement
- Leadership and Professionalism
- Organizational Development and Administration
Each content area also includes a rationale and explanation, as well as related competencies. The competencies are specific behaviors or skills can be observed and lead to effective practice.
You can use the Core Knowledge and Competencies to support ongoing development in each of the many roles within our system. For example, a professional working directly with children can use this tool to assess her professional needs and create a PD plan for herself. Meanwhile, her supervisor may use it to create a PD plan and training calendar for the entire workplace. Those creating professional development opportunities including faculty in higher education and child care resource and referral staff can align coursework and field-based experiences to it.
This revision of the CKCs also includes great tools that can assist in this process, especially for professionals working directly with infants, children, youth and families and their administrators. First is the reflections and assessment tool. This was created utilizing the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and “represents varying levels of understanding and the type of thinking required for the professional to succeed.” Once this assessment is complete, you can reflect on your areas of potential growth and work to create a professional development plan utilizing the “Individual Professional Development Planning Tool.” This tool assists you with setting goals, defining steps to reaching these goals, and creating timelines for reaching your goals.
Overall, the revised Core Knowledge and Competencies is a more user-friendly document and provides tangible tools that can be utilized. Professionals from front-line staff to statewide system staff can use of this great tool and put it into practice. Ultimately, that means that we’ll not only support childhood outcomes through better practice, but also support the talented professionals who help young Hoosiers learn, grow and develop every day.
Beth Riedeman joined the Partnerships for Early Learners team in March 2016 as the Manager of Workforce Initiatives. She manages workforce development-related partnerships and projects across the state, focusing on learning communities and cohorts, strengthening the pipeline of early childhood educators and promoting workforce initiatives. She’s also the mother of a young learner, a very active community member and a steadfastly supportive colleague, a skill she developed in her previous work as a program administrator.