Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (PA-ECE) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of children.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition




Early Childhood Education facilitates appropriate child development and ensures the health and safety of children in care.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required training and/or competencies and training hours
  • Training curricula
  • Documentation of professional development opportunities and resources from the previous 12 months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files


PA-ECE 2.01

Teachers have, or are actively working towards:
  1. a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential, or equivalent;
  2. an associate’s degree in early childhood education or child development; or
  3. a bachelor’s degree in a related field with two years of post-graduate experience in early childhood education.
Examples: Related fields include elementary education, special education, psychology, family consumer sciences, home economics, social work, and social services.


PA-ECE 2.02

Assistant teachers:
  1. are at least 18 years of age;
  2. have a high school diploma or GED; and
  3. carry out classroom activities under the direct supervision of an appropriately qualified teacher.


PA-ECE 2.03

The program director is qualified by:
  1. a bachelor’s degree in a related field with two years of post-graduate experience in early childhood education;
  2. a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field with five years of post-graduate experience in early childhood education; or
  3. a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field with a state-approved directors credential.
Examples: Related fields include early childhood education, child development, elementary education, early childhood special education, psychology, family consumer sciences, home economics, social work, program administration, and social services.


PA-ECE 2.04

Teaching staff remain up-to-date on current practices in early childhood education, and:
  1. pre-service training prepares teachers to perform their role and they are never expected to perform a task or provide a level of care that they have not been properly trained to handle; and
  2. teaching staff receive at least 24 training hours per year.

Fundamental Practice

PA-ECE 2.05

Teaching staff are trained on, or demonstrate competency in, meeting the health, safety, and nutritional needs of children including:
  1. food preparation, storage, and service;
  2. hand-washing and diapering procedures, if applicable, including how to properly use and dispose of gloves;
  3. safe sleep practices including SIDS prevention procedures, if applicable;
  4. sanitation and proper handling and storage of disinfectants; and
  5. policies and procedures regarding contagious and infectious disease prevention.


PA-ECE 2.06

Teaching staff are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. communicating openly and working respectfully with families;
  2. implementing the chosen curriculum;
  3. supporting a child’s positive relationships with his or her peers;
  4. positive guidance techniques of behavior management;
  5. classroom activities appropriate to children of different developmental levels;
  6. recognizing developmental differences between children;
  7. varying beliefs, customs, values, and child rearing practices of the different cultural groups represented by the children in their care; 
  8. screening and/or assessment tools;
  9. observation and documentation;
  10. effective classroom management; and
  11. teaching strategies for working with young children.
Examples: Teaching strategies include:
  1. techniques for keeping children engaged and motivated;
  2. methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching strategies and the comprehension of the child;
  3. methods for working with small or large groups;
  4. teacher-directed and child-directed instruction;
  5. how to choose activities and materials;
  6. how to break down tasks into manageable components; and
  7. how to organize instruction to achieve developmental milestones.


PA-ECE 2.07

Teaching staff who are responsible for working with children with special needs are qualified and trained to meet the specific needs of children in their care and parents, consultants, and other professionals are brought in when activities go beyond the capacities of staff.


Appropriate qualifications and training will vary given the needs of the children in care. It can include a combination of education, training, and experience.
Examples: Consultants and other professionals can include medical providers and other specialists as needed.


PA-ECE 2.08

Supervisors provide ongoing support and guidance through mentoring, coaching, and classroom observation and feedback.


PA-ECE 2.09

Professional development opportunities and resources are provided on at least a quarterly basis and include:
  1. group meetings for joint problem-solving and mutual support;
  2. information sharing on child development and parent-child relationships;
  3. opportunities for teaching staff to plan together; and
  4. regular in-service training.