Don’t Fear the CDA Process

Aida Chavera, Virginia

I have been a family child care provider since 1998. I work very hard full time, and I am currently working with five children who are aged from 2 months old to 5 years old, including children with special needs.button

I earned my CDA in August of 2009 in the Family Child Care Setting. A few years before that, I had felt overwhelmed by the CDA process. I worried I would not be able to write quality essays, and I thought the CDA process was too much like going to college, and that it was not for me. I hesitated to enroll in the CDA preparation program. Then one day by accident, I ended up in a CDA class in the Office of Children in Fairfax, VA. The other students in the class encouraged me to stay and complete the CDA class with them. I was comforted by the support of my colleagues, and I understood that CDA would be a good addition to my resume. The group had six months to complete the requirements, and all the class members encouraged each other and shared tips and resources.

Looking back, I now realize that the CDA process was not difficult. It seemed hard to find the Professional Resource File materials for Latinos, but I had a mentor, an experienced ECE professional who had earned her CDA a while back, who helped me in the process.

I was encouraged when I successfully completed my CDA training, and I am no longer scared of continuing my education in a college setting. I worked with a group of professionals on college projects, and frequently used the Internet to connect with others. Now I have earned 16 credits through NOVA (North Virginia Community College), and earned my Certificate in Infant and Toddler Education. These college credits will transfer toward my AA degree in Infant Toddler Education. I am now waiting to see if I will be awarded a scholarship.

This training has taught me very much about child development, dual language learners, and children with special needs. Because of my CDA preparation and assembly of my Professional Resource File, I can now direct parents toward resources which might have been difficult to find. The CDA process helped me learn where and how to look for resources online and within the community, and how to advocate for children.

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