If you are an early educator director or a preschool teacher in California, you may have come across the term CDA, or Child Development Associate. The CDA credential serves as a significant stepping stone in the field of early childhood education, setting the standard for quality childcare. This blog post will delve into what a CDA is, its relevance, and the history behind its inception.
What is a CDA?
The Child Development Associate (CDA) is a nationally recognized credential in the United States, awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA credential is aimed at individuals who work in all types of early childhood education settings - including preschools, daycare centers, family childcare homes, and home visitor programs.
The CDA credentialing program assesses candidates based on their competence in working with young children, their comprehension of child growth and development, and their ability to effectively use the principles of child development in their work with children.
Why is the CDA Important?
A CDA credential is crucial as it validates a caregiver's competency in meeting the developmental needs of children, demonstrating a significant level of education and experience in the field of early childhood education. It also signifies that the caregiver is committed to continuing professional development and learning.
For early educators, obtaining a CDA credential can open up new career opportunities and higher earning potential. It can also serve as a stepping stone to further education, as many institutions offer college credit for the credential. For parents and the community, a CDA credential assures that the care provided meets a nationally accepted standard of quality.
The History of the CDA
The CDA credential was created in response to the professionalization of early childcare and education in the 1960s and 1970s. The Council for Professional Recognition, formerly known as the CDA National Credentialing Program, was established in 1985 and given the mission to develop and administer a competency-based credentialing system for early childhood educators.
The Council for Professional Recognition aims to improve the quality of early childhood education by setting standards, providing resources, and advocating for children, families, and educators who care for them. Today, the CDA credential is widely recognized and respected, setting a national standard for excellence in early childhood education.
How to Contact the CDA
The Council for Professional Recognition, which oversees the CDA program, can be reached through several channels. Their official website, cdacouncil.org, is an excellent place to start, offering a wealth of resources and information about the CDA credential, including how to apply, preparation resources, and the renewal process.
For those looking to directly reach out to the council, they can be contacted via:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1-800-424-4310
- Postal Mail: Council for Professional Recognition, 2460 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009-3547
For further assistance, you can also reach out to the California Department of Education. They provide resources and guidance for early childhood educators seeking to earn professional credentials. Additionally, many community colleges and universities in California offer courses and programs designed to prepare students for the CDA credential. It may be beneficial to contact the early childhood education department of your local institution to learn about the options available to you.
The journey toward obtaining a CDA credential is a significant step in professional growth for an early childhood educator. Understanding and pursuing a CDA can open a pathway to advanced opportunities in this dynamic and rewarding field.
The Child Development Associate credential plays a pivotal role in early childhood education, signaling a caregiver's ability to provide high-quality care. For early childhood educators in California and beyond, understanding and attaining a CDA can offer a pathway to professional growth and enhanced opportunities in this rewarding field.