Research Competencies in the Education of Young Children

Expected by NAEYC

(Initial Licensure Programs)

Excerpts from:

National Association for Education of Young Children. NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation: Initial Licensure Programs Approved July 2001.


Standard 1

Standard 2

Standard 4

Sub-Standard 4a

Sub-Standard 4b

Sub-Standard 4c

Standard 5


Avoiding "mile wide and inch deep" professional preparation ... Programs may - and should - emphasize "learning how to learn," helping candidates gain access to credible, research-based resources to support their work. Such resources, important both in academic subject matter areas and in addressing issues of disability and diversity, may include print and non-print resources such as journals, videos, and Websites, as well as persons with relevant expertise at the school or in the community.


Standard 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning

Supporting explanation ... [Candidates'] knowledge and understanding of young children's characteristics and needs is supported by coherent theoretical perspectives and by current research. candidates apply their knowledge of contemporary theory and research to construct learning environments that provide achievable and "stretching" experiences for all children


Standard 2. Building Family and Community Relationships

Supporting explanation Family theory and research provide a knowledge base.


Standard 4. Teaching and Learning

Sub-Standard 4a. Connecting with Children and Families

Supporting explanation ... Early childhood candidates demonstrate that they understand the theories and research that support the importance of relationships and high quality interactions in early education.


Sub-Standard 4b. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches

Supporting explanation Candidates must ground their curriculum in a set of core approaches to teaching that are supported by research and are closely linked to the processes of early development and learning. A flexible, research-based "continuum of teaching strategies" is the best support for children's developmental and educational needs.


Drawing from a continuum of teaching strategies In selecting [teaching] approaches, candidates demonstrate that they are basing their selection on knowledge of individual children, on research evidence, and on understanding of appropriate, challenging teaching and learning goals.


Addressing children's challenging behaviors Early childhood candidates demonstrate a varied repertoire of research-based guidance approaches to meet individual children's needs.


Sub-Standard 4c. Understanding Content Knowledge in Early Education

Supporting explanation well-prepared candidates ground their practice in a thorough, research-based understanding of young children's development and learning processes.


Content areas for early childhood Because of its central place in later academic competence, the domain of language and literacy requires in-depth research-based understanding and skill.


Common features in candidates' work across content areas ... Candidates demonstrate basic knowledge of the research base underlying each content area and they demonstrate basic knowledge of the core concepts and standards of professional organizations in each content area, relying on sound resources for that knowledge. Finally, candidates demonstrate that they can analyze and critique early childhood curriculum experiences in terms of the relationship of the experiences to the research base and to professional standards.


Language and literacy Early language and literacy form the basis for much later learning, and well-prepared candidates possess extensive, research-based knowledge and skill in the area For young [English language learners] who are learning to read, candidates use, adapt, and assess research-based literacy activities and teaching methods that build on prior knowledge and support successful transitions for those learners.


Social studies. ... Candidates are able to articulate priorities for high quality, meaningful social studies experiences in early childhood, across a developmental continuum.



    • Make and use maps to locate themselves in space


    • Use the methods of the historian, identifying questions, locating and analyzing information, and reaching conclusions

Standard 5. Becoming a Professional

Continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice is a hallmark of a professional in any field. An attitude of inquiry is evident in well-prepared candidates' writing, discussion, and actions. Whether engaging in classroom-based research, investigating ways to improve their own practices, participating in conferences, or finding resources in libraries and Internet sites, candidates demonstrate self-motivated, purposeful learning that directly influences the quality of their work with young children.


As professional prepared in four- and five-year higher education programs, early childhood candidates' decisions and advocacy efforts are grounded in multiple sources of knowledge and multiple perspectives. Even routine decisions about what materials to use for an activity are informed by a professional context, research-based knowledge, and values. Well-prepared candidates' practice is influenced by knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives. In their work with young children, candidates show that they make and justify decisions on the basis of their knowledge of the central issues, professional values and standards, and research findings in their field.


Last modified February 8, 2007
by Boris Teske, Prescott Memorial Library,
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272