Redefining and developing professional competencies for early childhood education and care


  • Florence Pirard University of Liège
  • Marie Housen University of Liège
  • Elodie Pools University of Liège


The competences expected from early childhood education and care professionals have evolved significantly in our Western countries following the transformation of services and the affirmation of their educational function. This article is based on action research projects carried out in the Wallonia Brussels Federation (FWB) which integrate an analysis of other education and training systems (France, Flanders, England, Sweden and Quebec). It presents a reflection on the development of professional competencies and their acquisition from the initial training in a holistic approach to education. It notes that a diversity of formations coexists, leading to an absence of clear view on professional skills and profiles. In response to this observation, it proposes a modeling that articulates organizational, relational and reflexive competencies that are needed for the development of a professional posture. That modeling is presented as a grid of analysis that can enable better understanding of the complexity of early education and care in its many dimensions (working with children, families, professionals and the local community). It can be considered as a tool to globally rethink initial and continuing education and training in a systemic perspective.