All professional societies share common characteristics. Among them are a body of knowledge and skills, culture, a code of ethics, and public recognition. The National Afterschool Association Core Knowledge and Competencies have been developed to enable afterschool and youth development practitioners to demonstrate expertise and gain a higher level of recognition within their communities–particularly from school officials–that has long been sought after. The core knowledge and competencies serve to establish agreements across programs and funding streams about what it takes to work with and on behalf of children and youth.


1.   Child and Youth Growth and Development

2.   Learning Environment and Curriculum

3.   Child/Youth Observation and Assessment

4.   Interactions with Children and Youth

5.   Youth Engagement

6.   Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

7.   Family, School, and Community Relationships

8.   Safety and Wellness

9.   Program Planning and Development

10. Professional Development and Leadership​​