Missouri families, children to benefit from new scholarships for Early Childhood Educators

March 11, 2020
For Immediate Release :
March 11, 2020
For More Information :

Adam Shapiro

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The youngest people in the Show Me State will soon benefit from a unique collaboration between the Council for Professional Recognition and Child Care Aware® of Missouri; the initiative aims to have over 800 early childhood educators in Missouri working toward their Child Development Associate Credential™ (CDA) in 2020. Right now, over 10,000 educators hold CDAs in the state. Full details about the scholarships are at mo.childcareaware.org/cda-scholarship-project/.

The Council’s CDA is recognized as the standard global competency in the early childhood education space. The Council and Child Care Aware® of Missouri believe it’s a vital credential that educators must have to position children for success as they approach kindergarten. The CDA is the only competency-based credential that is portable, as it is globally recognized.

Program leaders say Missouri early childhood educators can earn the CDA at no cost as the application, workbook and other fees will be covered. They can earn the credential through clock hours (training) or credit hours (T.E.A.C.H. MISSOURI CDA scholarship).

Childhood educators will benefit from guidance around portfolio creation and each will receive a $380 bonus upon the completion of the CDA and by continuing their work at their current program for six months.

Heather Dunn of Pilot Knob, Mo., is an early childhood educator who was drawn to the profession for a very personal reason and greatly benefited from her college coursework. “Four years ago my family suffered the tragic death of my three-year-old nephew. After his death I had this desire to help other children his age reach important milestones that he never was able to meet,” she recalls. “With each class I grew as a teacher and developed a deeper understanding early childhood education. Without the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship I would not have reached this achievement. With the momentum and confidence I have gained through the CDA process, I plan to continue on to an associate’s and then a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Out of my greatest tragedy came my greatest passion.”

“We’re excited to move early childhood education forward in Missouri for educators like Heather and others and to see this effort as we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Child Development Associate Credential,” says Dr. Valora Washington, CEO of the Council. “The CDA Scholarship Project is based on the tenets of the T.E.A.C.H. MISSOURI scholarship. Working together, this project will increase the quality of early childhood through education, compensation and retention of early childhood education professionals. Parents and others can be confident that child care providers who have a CDA credential have been certified as having mastered the skills and attained the knowledge necessary to support a child’s emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services, Children’s Division is financing the scholarship project through federal funds.


The Council for Professional Recognition promotes improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children ages zero to 5 years old. The Council recognizes and credentials professionals who work in all types of early care and education settings including center-based, preschool/infant-toddler, family childcare, and home visitor programs. As a nonprofit organization, the Council sets policies and procedures for assessment and credentialing. To date, over 800,000 CDA credentials have been awarded around the world. For more information, visit www.cdacouncil.org.


Child Care Aware® of Missouri believes that the first two-thousand days of a child’s life make a difference. Child care is the backbone of Missouri’s economy—ensuring families can work and businesses are productive. Child Care Aware® of Missouri serves over 17,000 families and 3,900 child care programs (employing over 35,000 Missouri taxpayers) annually. We deliver services directly and through a statewide network of partnerships. For more than 20 years, Child Care Aware® of Missouri has ensured that Missouri communities and families have the information they need to find quality, affordable child care; community partners are aware of child care resources and services; policymakers have the information necessary to make good decisions about child care issues; and child care businesses and staff have the training and education to develop professionally and provide quality care. For more information, visit www.mo.childcareare.org.


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