In Australia, there is no set of agreed upon teaching standards for early childhood teachers. In some states such as Western Australia and Queensland, documents have been produced that outline generic teaching competencies for all teachers. However, research in Australia and overseas shows that one set of standards does not always fit teaching specialisations easily. This paper reports on the culmination of a joint research project between Edith Cowan University and the Department of Education (WA) that undertook to describe the generic teaching competencies for Phase 1 teachers in terms of early childhood teachers work. The views of early childhood teachers, specialists, principals and policy makers were sought in focus groups with the aim of providing rich descriptions of what WA early childhood teachers should know and be able to do in the first phase of their career. The study found that discussion and debate is needed at the National level in order to ensure the quality of early childhood teaching and to illustrate career pathways for early childhood teachers.