Council Letter

October 22, 2020

Developing Early Educators in High School

Dear Colleagues,

How can you go straight from high school to a rewarding career? It helps to pick a field, like early childhood education, where there’s high demand for a qualified workforce. With the right training and skills, you can make a lifelong impact on young learners in their most formative years. You’ll also get to ignite an inner spark that inspires children to do their best. That can be a great source of gratification. And with greater focus on the value of ECE for young children, educators can look forward to a wide range of careers, including advocacy, research or training the next generation of teachers.

A CDA® can open these avenues for students, as we note in a recent blog where high school teachers weighed in on the credential. “I think the CDA is a great opportunity for students to start their career path,” said Mary Matthews, a Utah teacher whose school offers the credential. And instructors like her can enhance their programs with the forthcoming Child Development Associate® (CDA) Handbook for High School: A Guide to Advocacy and Implementation.

Our new handbook provides administrators and teachers with step-by-step instructions for developing a CDA program and tips to ensure the long-term strength of an existing program. It’s “incredibly helpful,” enthused Baylie D. Williams, a Texas instructor who got a sneak peek at the handbook. She especially liked the section on accommodating special-needs students, which shows the Council’s commitment to equity and inclusion.

They’re values that matter to Emily Hoff, an early childhood educator who we profile this month. She earned her CDA in high school and is now taking college courses with the long-term goal of working with special-needs kids and helping them reach their potential. “Disability,” she says, “shouldn’t define a person.”

Nor should their gender when it comes to a choice of career, according to Paige Hassel, a high school teacher who welcomes young men to her ECE program. Several barriers and biases block men from entering and staying in our profession. But we can break them down if we reach men in their high school years. That’s what we heard from men this month when we marked 45 years of the CDA. Our virtual celebration included a special panel of men, who chimed in on the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

“The Council wants to keep this conversation going to capture the interest of young men and show that the ECE field is wide open to them,” says our CEO, Dr. Calvin Moore. We think our new handbook can help clear a path for young folks to enter our profession—whether they’re women or men. If you’re a high school administrator or teacher, you play a key role in guiding them. So, we hope you’re interested in getting more information on our handbook or how to bring the CDA to your school. Please let us know by completing a brief questionnaire.

There’s no question that we can help build a more skilled, inclusive workforce by giving students the chance to earn a CDA in high school. The credential can inspire students to find a path in life early on. They, in turn, will know how to inspire young learners. And high school teachers will gain something, too. They’ll have the reward of forming the next generation in our field.

With gratitude, as always, for the reward of serving you,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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