NAEYC 2020 Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Standards and
Competencies for Early Childhood Educators are the department outcomes for the Early Childhood
Education and Administration program. The NAEYC Standards are based on the latest research in the field
of early childhood education and best practices. They are specific and measurable. Students in the program
demonstrate each key element of the Standards. Data is collected and analyzed from key assessments
designed to demonstrate the Standards and is used to inform practice. The Standards are also embedded in
all course outcomes
STANDARD 1. Child Development and Learning in Context
Early childhood educators (a) are grounded in an understanding of the developmental period of early childhood from
birth through age 8 across developmental domains. They (b) understand each child as an individual with unique
developmental variations. Early childhood educators (c) understand that children learn and develop within
relationships and within multiple contexts, including families, cultures, languages, communities, and society. They
(d) use this multidimensional knowledge to make evidence-based decisions about how to carry out their
STANDARD 2. Family–Teacher Partnerships and Community Connections
Early childhood educators understand that successful early childhood education depends upon educators’
partnerships with the families of the young children they serve. They (a) know about, understand, and value the
diversity in family characteristics. Early childhood educators (b) use this understanding to create respectful,
responsive, reciprocal relationships with families and to engage with them as partners in their young children’s
development and learning. They (c) use community resources to support young children’s learning and development
and to support children’s families, and they build connections between early learning settings, schools, and
community organizations and agencies.
STANDARD 3. Child Observation, Documentation, and Assessment
Early childhood educators (a) understand that the primary purpose of assessments is to inform instruction and
planning in early learning settings. They (b) know how to use observation, documentation, and other appropriate
assessment approaches and tools. Early childhood educators (c) use screening and assessment tools in ways that
are ethically grounded and developmentally, culturally, ability, and linguistically appropriate to document
developmental progress and promote positive outcomes for each child. In partnership with families and professional
colleagues, early childhood educators (d) use assessments to document individual children’s progress and, based
on the findings, to plan learning experiences.
STANDARD 4. Developmentally, Culturally, and Linguistically Appropriate Teaching Practices
Early childhood educators understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and
its details vary depending on children’s ages and characteristics and on the settings in which teaching and learning
occur. They (a) understand and demonstrate positive, caring, supportive relationships and interactions as the
foundation for their work with young children. They (b) understand and use teaching skills that are responsive to the
learning trajectories of young children and to the needs of each child. Early childhood educators (c) use a broad
repertoire of developmentally appropriate and culturally and linguistically relevant, anti-bias, and evidence-based
teaching approaches that reflect the principles of universal design for learning.
STANDARD 5. Knowledge, Application, and Integration of Academic Content in the Early Childhood Curriculum
Early childhood educators have knowledge of the content of the academic disciplines (e.g., language and literacy,
the arts, mathematics, social studies, science, technology and engineering, physical education) and of the
pedagogical methods for teaching each discipline. They (a) understand the central concepts, the methods and tools
of inquiry, and the structures in each academic discipline. Educators (b) understand pedagogy, including how young
children learn and process information in each discipline, the learning trajectories for each discipline, and how
teachers use this knowledge to inform their practice They (c) apply this knowledge using early learning standards
and other resources to make decisions about spontaneous and planned learning experiences and about curriculum
development, implementation, and evaluation to ensure that learning will be stimulating, challenging, and
meaningful to each child.
STANDARD 6. Professionalism as an Early Childhood Educator
Early childhood educators (a) identify and participate as members of the early childhood profession. They serve as
informed advocates for young children, for the families of the children in their care, and for the early childhood
profession. They (b) know and use ethical guidelines and other early childhood professional guidelines. They (c)
have professional communication skills that effectively support their relationships and work young children, families,
and colleagues. Early childhood educators (d) are continuous, collaborative learners who (e) develop and sustain
the habit of reflective and intentional practice in their daily work with young children and as members of the early childhood profession.