Knowledge and Competency Framework

Minnesota’s Knowledge and Competency Framework (KCF) outlines what early childhood professionals need to know and what they need to do when delivering quality care. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) created the KCF in 2015 to replace the Minnesota Core Competencies and align with Board of Teaching Standards. While the KCF was designed to replace the Minnesota Core Competencies, many of the new KCF content areas align or overlap the Minnesota Core Competencies. Download the KCF Overview, which includes a chart that shows how the new KCF content areas align with the Minnesota Core Competencies and CDA content areas.


There are eight content areas (*seven for Family Child Care):

  1. Child Development and Learning
  2. Developmentally Appropriate Learning Experiences
  3. Relationships with Families
  4. Assessment, Evaluation and Individualization
  5. Historical and Contemporary Development of Early Childhood Education
  6. Professionalism
  7. Health, Safety and Nutrition
  8. Application through Clinical Experiences*


There are three versions you can download directly from the MDE website:

  1. Preschool-Aged Children in Center and School Programs
  2. Infants and Toddlers
  3. Family Child Care


There are three levels of progression in each content area:

  1. Explores: New to the field or content area; Relies on observation
  2. Implements: Understands developmental stages; Focusing on needs of individual children; Reflection leads to improvement
  3. Designs and Leads: Highly involved in decision making; Constantly evaluating, communicating, and collaborating to improve


The KCF can be used to:

  • Highlight skills providers need to help children succeed
  • Give providers a clear path to plan professional growth


There are several KCF resources available: