Last year all qualified early childhood teachers were accredited by NESA. We were ‘pushed over the line’ without having to go through the rigorous accreditation process to be deemed Proficient that all teachers now have to go through.
The process relates to demonstrating that you are meeting the standards through evidence and reports. For those of us who have been deemed Proficient, how many of us have even read the Standards or the Evidence Guide? How well do we know the Standards and what is required to be Proficient?
As we now embark on our maintenance of proficiency period (80 hours self directed and 20 hours NESA accredited PD) how many of us are actively logging our hours and relating our professional reading, meetings and discussions to the Standards?
It is very important now we are recognised as professionals to prove we really are. We need to know the Standards and be able to articulate just how we are meeting them. We need to be thinking critically about what we do, how we do it, how we practise it and how we maintain it and improve.
Very soon there will be evidence guides for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in early childhood. There will be many out there who could well apply for this but if we don’t know the Standards already this will prove to be an impossible process.
Below is the link to Proficient Teacher Evidence Guide for Early Childhood Teachers. This will take you through the Standards and the evidence needed to become Proficient.
Challenge yourselves and know them, think about how you would meet them. Talk about them at staff meetings and in wider early childhood groups. We need to know these and strive to implement them.
Many of us who were deemed Proficient may in the future become mentors or supervisors for new early childhood teachers who are working towards becoming Proficient. They will rely on us for support, advice, knowledge and leadership. We cannot begin to do this if we are ignorant of the Standards.
Being deemed professionals was a wonderful thing for our sector. We are at last recognised for the work we do, our knowledge and skill, the importance of early childhood and our professionalism. We cannot afford others to say we didn’t deserve it because we haven’t bothered to make ourselves aware of the Standards.
As we are still fighting for pay parity we need all our ducks lined up – and this is one big duck!
Take the time, read the Standards and ask yourselves if you are meeting them. As lifelong learners we should embrace these eagerly.