The Youth Development Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start CDA training is a major effort to assist, guide & nurture parents and staff in a process where they can become employed. They grow as individuals and as professionals to have increased knowledge and skills in Early Childhood Education.  The training consists of lecture, “hands on” best practices in a mock classroom. They learn to work with other parents and other professionals to nurture the strengths and needs of infant, mobile infants, toddlers, & preschoolers in the areas of physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth in child development.

The CDA credentialing program is the only comprehensive system of its kind that recognizes the essential competencies needed at entry-level. The process is now a powerful cohesive professional development experience, infused with meaningful “hands on” activities that facilitate the reflective practices. The credential does cost $425.00 per candidate. I am proud to say that YDI has an informal collaboration with workforce connections for parents to enroll and when qualified do receive the funds to pay for their credential.

The National Competency Standards are used as criteria to train the participants and to evaluate the individual’s performance with children, families and staff. The standards are divided into, six competency standards and thirteen functional areas: 1.To establish and maintain a Safe, Healthy, and Learning Environment, 2.To advance physical and intellectual competence. 3.  To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance. 4. To establish positive and productive partnerships with families, families. 5. To ensure a well-run, purposeful program responsive to participants needs. 6. To maintain a commitment to professionalism.

Following are examples of the daily interactions with children: They get on the floor with the children, practice circle time, finger plays, and dance exercises. They will read to children, how to work with puppets, enhance the children’s language and literacy skills, the importance of children’s art, how to talk with children, science activities, what is manipulative, nutrition, providing emotional and physical security in children, how to redirect children. They are to demonstrate how to work with families, co-workers and learn how to be professional. The participants also complete a portfolio, which is compiled of written statements of how they implement the competency standards into their daily interactions with the children, families and staff. Participants also are required to get feedback from parents using a questionnaire on their classroom performance. 

Keep all of this in mind, here at the YDI Head Start/Early Head Start CDA training program, we have trained many parents to become teacher associates, in some cases now teachers with degrees. The last two years all the Early Head Start Expansion staff received the CDA 2nd setting credential, eighteen parents were committed and attended the three week training offered. This year eleven parents completed the first class and nine parents completed this last class. These parents want to work with children and are committed to following thru on their personal goal. The commitment is so great, we have a parent who drove to class here in Albuquerque all the way from Abiquqiu, NM.  This parent’s attendance we good and didn’t even think twice about driving such a long distance to reach her educational goal.

Once the parents complete the 3 week class they are given an in house certificate of participation.

The last steps: Once the candidate has received the funds for the application, they will mail application and $425.00 to the Council for Professional Recognition in, Washington DC. , once approved by the council they will be observed, scores will be submitted by the PD Specialist. They will then take a Pearson Vue test, the council will make the decision to issue a CDA credential.