WASHINGTON — Zoe Labarthe, a Florida high school student, is proud to have earned her Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential while finishing her other studies. Soon, even more high school students will join her in receiving a CDA®, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and a key pathway for career advancement in the field.
The Council for Professional Recognition, the nonprofit that sets the policies and procedures for CDA assessment, is releasing the “Child Development Associate® (CDA) Handbook for High School: A Guide to Advocacy and Implementation.” The Handbook includes planning/design tools, resources and individualized instruction to create a sustainable High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It’s designed to help administrators and teachers launch and sustain high school early childhood education training through CTE programs to prepare their students for the CDA credential.
The digital handbook provides a systems approach to earning a CDA in high school through a uniform framework with resources to guide instructional planning and support individualized lessons. The Council’s goal is to guide instructors in planning for implementing classroom and lab experiences that naturally align with the CDA process.
Dr. Calvin E. Moore, Jr., CEO of the Council, says, “This handbook is an essential tool for high school career and technical education leaders who play an important role in helping their students succeed. This effort fulfills many needs — the CDA provides vocational training, it creates a desire for additional education, it further professionalizes early education and it helps to meet America’s need in the early education sector.”
The Council began its CDA high school program a decade ago; since then over 3,000 high school students have earned CDAs in their junior or senior years.
The CDA is based on a set of time-tested, research-based Competency Standards that guide early childhood educators as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. These professionals know how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and understand how the Standards help children succeed in moving from one developmental stage to another.
Labarthe says “One of the main things I’ve learned from the CDA process is how to interact with children…there’s a lot of emotional and positive reinforcement we need to give them.”
High school students who earn their CDA gain experience that prepares them to enter early childhood education with confidence in their knowledge of child cognitive, social and emotional development.