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About this Competency

All of the California early childhood educator competencies involve professionalism in some way; they describe knowledge, skills, dispositions, and an overall vision that allow early childhood educators to work effectively with children, families, colleagues, and communities and to provide high-quality early care and education services. To ensure that principles of professional and ethical practice are given equal and intentional consideration to constructs in other competency areas, they are addressed separately here. This competency area is intended to describe in greater detail ethical standards and professional guidelines, professional development and reflective practice, advocacy, and collaborative partnerships.

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California Early Childhood Educator Competencies

California Early Childhood Educator Competencies Wheel

Framing Questions

Framing questions identify some of the major themes in this competency. They provide you with a starting point. As you explore this competency, add your own framing questions for issues you want to further examine.

  • How do you demonstrate your commitment to being a contributing professional?
  • How is reflective practice embedded in your work with adults and your own professional development?
  • How do you demonstrate ethical standards in your daily work with children, families, and colleagues?


Keep these dispositions in mind as you explore the Framing Questions. If you mindfully adopt these dispositions, you will realize the Desired Outcomes for Practitioners and for Children.

  • Sees oneself as a professional and one's work as a professional practice.
  • Values the opportunity to put knowledge into practice.
  • Values reflection on practice and is committed to continuous learning, both professionally and personally.

Desired Outcomes for practitioners

If I have these dispositions, then I will…

  • continuously challenge my own knowledge and perspectives.
  • practice reflection on a daily basis.
  • clearly articulate the values and practices embodied in high quality ECE.
  • communicate effectively with others, both inside and outside the ECE profession.
  • behave ethically and engage in dialogue with others about ethical dilemmas.

Desired Outcomes for Children

If teachers and caregivers have these dispositions, then children will…

  • experience the benefits of high quality ECE programs.

Keys to Reflection and Inquiry

The CompSAT Keys to Reflection and Inquiry offer you a protocol to use in whatever setting you work as an early childhood educator. Learn how you can integrate the six Keys into your work. Select one of the Keys below to practice reflecting with questions related to the competency area of Professionalism.


Choose from one of the Keys below to view additional information related to this Competency!

Build Your Portfolio

Journaling — A very personal statement of growth.

Portfolio screenshot

Journaling is a great way to record your experiences, keep track of your questions, and make sense of your choices and their outcomes. Journaling lends itself nicely to portfolio work. It's largely a narrative format, but can be enhanced by the addition of photos, sketches, and doodles. Journaling can be done on the computer, or can it can be done using plain, blank notebooks, a pen, and colored pencils.

View the Portfolio Sample View the Spanish Version

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