WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Council for Professional Recognition, the leader in the credentialing of early childhood educators worldwide, is reimagining the process for earning its Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential. Nearly 1 million early childhood educators have earned a CDA over its 46-year history and the Council’s reimagining initiative will result in strengthened systems and processes to better serve candidates.
Reimagining the CDA Credentialing Process began with the formation and discussions with a Blue-Ribbon Panel, composed of thought leaders in the field. The panel members shared key insights and knowledge that prompted the Council to think more deeply about how to meet the needs of the growing sector, specifically the need for more qualified professional educators who’ve earned CDAs. The idea was solidified through stakeholder feedback which confirmed enhancing the CDA process would be a primary way to achieve the aspiration of increased access to the CDA credential to educators worldwide.
Dr. Calvin E. Moore, Jr., the Council’s CEO, says, “The pandemic has renewed our appreciation of the dedication and hard work of early childhood educators who earn and renew their CDA — I call them superheroes!
“Now is the time to ensure we’re doing all we can to provide candidates an efficient, seamless and hassle-free process. I thank all who participated in this exciting initiative. It’s important because we always want to provide our youngest learners with the best start in life, and that’s why we’re implementing these enhancements. The world needs more of these superheroes who give young children the best possible start in life.”
The initial phases of Reimagining the CDA involve:
- Technology infrastructure improvements that are customer-centric and user friendly.
- Re-design of the credentialing process to support a high-quality experience.
- Regular quality checks to continually improve the process and customer service experience.
“We’re utilizing a design-thinking approach throughout this work. This is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding,” says Beth Heeb, the Council’s Vice President of Quality Assurance and Research.
Shannon Rudisill, the Executive Director of the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, served on the Blue-Ribbon Panel. She says, “I commend the Council for its commitment to innovation and ensuring that the CDA process evolves to meet changing conditions and the needs of early educators, so that the CDA remains a vital tool for educator preparation and equitable pathways for teachers.”
BCT Partners, which focuses on design thinking and a people-centered method, serves as a consultant to the Council for the initiative.