Indiana Teacher Guides Students Into Early Childhood Field, CDA

April 25, 2019

Published by CounciLINK on April 25, 2019


INDIANA TEACHER GUIDES STUDENTS INTO EARLY CHILDHOOD FIELD CDABarbara Gingerich’s leadership has transformed the early childhood education program into one of the best programs at Elkhart Area Career Center, which serves 1,000 students in 14 different schools throughout southern Michigan and northern Indiana.

Her program was the first to be classified as an early college program at the center and her students were the first to earn certificates from Ivy Tech Community College.

Gingerich attributes a large part of the program’s success to its strong foundation in the Child Development Associate (CDA®) credential. During their first year, students take a series of courses such as Curriculum in Child Care and Health, Safety and Nutrition, which add up to the 120 hours of training required by the CDA.

They also work with preschool children at Growing Kids Preschool, thanks to the relationship Gingerich built between the preschool, her career center and Ivy Tech. While there, they accumulate 220 of the 480 hours of experience required to earn a CDA. They pick up the remaining hours during their second year when they work as interns in child care programs. The classrooms where they perform their internships also are sites for verification visits conducted by CDA Professional Development Specialists (PDS) who perform candidate assessments.

So far, all the students in Gingerich’s program have successfully completed the CDA, and the bonds she forged at Growing Kids has given a ready career path to those who want to enter the early childhood field right after high school graduation.

The students know the value of the CDA, as does the Indiana Department of Education, which recognizes the CDA as an essential credential.

“An educated workforce is the best evidence,” Gingerich said, “of a high-quality early learning experience for children and their families. I strongly support the CDA as the best first step in an early childhood educator’s career.”

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