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Earning Your Child Development Associate ( CDA ) Credential

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Get your Child Development Associate ( CDA ) by taking our online courses! Extension online provides self-paced, online child care courses that are free to take and require only a minimal fee for a verifiable certificate of completion. CDA credentials are issued by the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington DC. This credential is the most widely recognized in early childhood education (ECE) and a key stepping stone for career advancement in ECE. The Council for Professional Recognition offers four types of CDA credentials:

  1. Preschool, center-based settings with children aged 3-5 years
  2. Infant and toddler, center-based settings for ages 0-36 months
  3. Family child care home for ages 0-5 years
  4. Home visitor to homes for ages 0-5 years.

To obtain a Child Development Associate credential from the Council for 1) preschool center-based settings, 2) infant / toddler center-based setting, or 3) a family child care home, you must complete 120 hours* of formal early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children in the age group for which you are seeking the credential, with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the following subject areas:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment.
  • Advancing physical and intellectual development.
  • Supporting children's social and emotional development.
  • Building productive relationships with families.
  • Managing an effective program operation.
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism.
  • Observing and recording behavior.
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning.

To obtain CDA credential from the Council as a home visitor. you must complete 120 hours* of formal early childhood education training with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the following subject areas:

  • Promoting health, safety, and nutrition in home environments.
  • Enhancing parents' skill to advance children's physical and intellectual development.
  • Strategies to promote parents' use of positive ways to support their child's social and emotional development.
  • Strategies to establish productive relationships with families.
  • Strategies to manage an effective home visitor program operation.
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism.
  • Case management.
  • Principles of child development and learning.

The Council requires that "while formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The agency or organization must provide verification of your education in the form of an official transcript, certificate, or letter. You need to submit these documents with your application (emphasis added)." Extension online child care courses offer just that - professional expertise and a verifiable certificate to those preparing for their Child Development Credential ( CDA ) with course like

  • Supporting Children's Social and Emotional Development
  • Establishing Positive Relationships with Families
  • Establishing Positive Relationships with Parents
  • Positive Guidance and Discipline
  • Helping Children Resolve Peer Conflict
  • Developing Appropriate Learning Environments for Infants and Toddlers
  • Introduction to Infant and Toddler Social Emotional Development
  • Understanding Infant and Toddler Development
  • Responding to Challenging Infant Toddler Behavior
  • Routines and Environments that Support Social Emotional Development in Infants and Toddlers
  • The Value of Play for Preschool Children
  • Creating a Literacy-Rich Early Childhood Program
  • Little Tummies and Big Appetites: Nutrition and the Preschool Child
  • Healthy Habits: Encouraging Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Young Children
  • Healthy Eaters: Infant and Toddler Nutrition in the Child Care setting
  • Supporting Breast-Feeding in the Child Care Setting
  • Keeping Kids Safe: Emergency Planning for Child Care Facilities
  • Ensuring the Health and Safety of Infants and Toddlers in Child Care Settings
  • Injury Prevention and Child Safety in the Child Care Setting
  • Infection Control in Child Care Settings
  • Transporting Children Safely in Child Care
  • Caring for Children with Special Health Care Needs
  • More…

*Note that the 120 hours of formal early childhood education training is one step in obtaining your CDA. Be sure that you have submitted your application to the Council and that you meet the specific qualifications for CDA certification, which will allow you to proceed appropriately with your formal education and observational hours.

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