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Competency Reflections

Each Foundational Course’s Competency Reflection offers both a tool for self-reflection and a tool to assess and document observed competency. Use the Competency Reflections with new staff members or family child care (FCC) providers taking their initial Virtual Lab School training. More seasoned staff members and FCC providers can also use the Competency Reflections to document their professional growth or identify goals for improvement.

Each Competency Reflection contains a set of competencies (behaviors, attributes, and skills) that represent essential best practices related to its Foundational Course (e.g., Safe Environments, or Self & Cultural Understanding). The competencies within each Competency Reflection are organized according to whether they can be “Directly Observed,” assessed through “Observation or Conversation,” or by examining “Environmental Evidence.” These groupings provide guidance to trainers, coaches, and administrators as they assess a staff member’s competency within each Foundational Course. It may not be possible to directly observe all competencies. When a trainer, coach or administrator is unable to observe a particular competency, they are encouraged to have conversations with staff members or providers and to examine elements in the environment to evaluate a staff member’s current level of mastery.

The Competency Reflections are designed to help document staff members’ or providers’ growth over time. Staff members and providers, and their trainers, coaches or administrators, are asked to rate each competency as E (emerging), D (developing), or M (mastered). This emphasizes a continual improvement framework and mastery as a journey, and allows the Competency Reflections to a be useful tool for more seasoned staff and providers.

Each Competency Reflection ends with an opportunity to identify the overall strengths in the practices associated with a particular course, to list goals relative to this area of focus, and to establish an action plan to follow-up and achieve these goals.

Taking Notes

The Competency Reflections are designed so that you can take notes as needed, recording what you witnessed or discussed regarding particular competencies. Use the note box provided in the Competency Reflection for this purpose, and include the competency number (e.g. I.7), the date observed, and any notes you observe. It is unlikely that you will need to take notes for every competency associated with a particular course. The notes are designed for flexibility based on staff members’ and providers’ goals and current mastery level.

Using the Competency Reflections with New Staff and Providers

When assessing competency for individuals currently taking Virtual Laboratory School training, it is likely that you will observe the staff member or provider a few times for any particular course. Remember to include the competency number (e.g., I.7), the date observed, and any notes. In addition, the individual may change in their level of mastery (E, D, or M) as they interact more with the Virtual Lab School content and receive your valuable feedback. When you observe a change in an individual’s level of mastery, include the competency letter, the date, and the new mastery level.

Using the Competency Reflections with Seasoned Staff

The Competency Reflections offer a tool for self-examination that facilitates staff and provider goal setting. When staff members and providers indicate they are emerging or developing in particular a competency (e.g., they self-select a rating of E or D), this, in conjunction with the trainer’s, coach’s, or administrator’s observations, offers a solid start on goal setting and action planning.