Core competencies set goals and standards for training, education and professional development to ensure quality. Out-of-school time core competencies define the expected applicable day-to-day knowledge and care for providers at all levels, including volunteers, and in all settings. Core competencies vary from state to state, but they all detail the skills, knowledge, ethics and practice to support child and youth development and families. At the same time, competencies empower practitioners to better understand their practice and further their professional development.
In Pennsylvania, a leading body on core competencies and professional development for early childhood and school-age (up to 12 years) practitioners is The Pennsylvania Key, sponsored by the Department of Human Service’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning.