Coaching Students Working to Earn a CDA Always Excites Pam Oviatt

August 23, 2018

Pam-OviattAfter years of serving as an advisor and coach to those entering the early childhood education field, Pam Oviatt still gets excited when someone earns a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

“It is invigorating to talk with candidates and read all their work,” Oviatt says, adding that she respects them “for all of the work, learning, and reflection that each person puts into the CDA.”

Oviatt serves as a literacy coach with the Center for Literacy at the University of Akron. The center’s coaches work with school districts to model lessons and best instructional practices in the classroom. For the past 17 years, she has also worked as an Ohio Ready to Learn coordinator for the local PBS station and provides virtual and face-to-face training in line with the Ohio Approved professional development system.

Beginning her early childhood teaching career in a church-based child care program, Oviatt knew she wanted to work in education. But at the time, early childhood courses were not offered in the college of education where she was enrolled. She continued taking education courses, worked in the early childhood field for practical experience and then began adding early childhood courses when her college finally offered them.

Her story in some way demonstrates the way society has viewed programs for young children. “Within the field, we recognized the importance of what we do,” she says, “but the wider community didn’t always see that importance.”

When she’s working with new teachers, she says she especially likes when she can talk with candidates about “their goals and aspirations” and hopes that she can inspire them to continue learning and strengthening their skills beyond the CDA. “They and the children deserve that.”


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