Support for Early Childhood Professionals
Early childhood professionals come in many forms and from many settings. Whether you already work in the field or are hoping to pursue a career in early childhood education, Child Care Aware of Minnesota can help you navigate the steps to reach your goals.
The Child Development Associate (CDA) is a credential that an educator can earn to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the early childhood profession. No matter where a candidate is in their process of earning a CDA, Professional Development Advisors are available to offer support and guidance. Contact your local Professional Development Advisor for one-on-one assistance regarding goal setting, training verification, and more.
Professional Portfolio Support
As you prepare to apply for the CDA, it can be helpful to have additional support completing your Professional Portfolio. Request a meeting with a Portfolio Specialist to review the work you have done on your portfolio.
Complete the CDA Portfolio Assistance Request Form to receive help from a Portfolio Specialist.
Just getting started? We recommend using the following tools to help you:
Professional Development Specialists
The Council for Professional Recognition has a search tool for locating available Professional Development Specialists (PDS) in your area. We suggest using this tool to contact multiple PDS to find one who can match your scheduling needs. If you are having trouble locating a PDS in your area, contact ChristyB@childcareawaremn.org for support.
MNCDA and MNITCDA
The Minnesota CDA (MNCDA) and its infant/toddler specific counterpart the MNITCDA were designed to provide core training aligned with the Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credentialing Program. Cohorts are held face-to-face throughout the state and online through Eager-to-Learn. The credential consists of 120 hours of face-to-face classes or 48 weeks of online learning which:
- Provides a foundation in early care and education across all eight CDA subject areas for early childhood educators in family child care programs and child care centers.
- Integrates CDA Portfolio requirements into homework assignments. Participants who complete homework assignments for the MNCDA will have most of their CDA portfolio materials ready for submission upon completion of the MNCDA.
- Incorporates and aligns with key early childhood education standards, including Minnesota’s Knowledge and Competency Framework, Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress.
- Follows principles from the Minnesota Framework for Universal Multicultural Instructional Design. Contents are divided between theory, practice, and reflection in order to best foster knowledge and skill-building.
Combines required training hours with additional supports including Learning Community Coordinators; financial supports; professional development career advising; cultural adaptations in Hmong, Somali, and Spanish languages; and the cohort learning experience to provide a high degree of support in earning a nationally-recognized CDA certificate from the Council for Professional Recognition.
Interested in finding a cohort near you? Complete the CDA Learning Community Interest Form.
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Scholarship and Grant Opportunities for Early Childhood Programs
Research tells us that having specialized knowledge and professional development specific to how young children develop and learn is critical for quality early childhood programming. Accredited colleges and universities in Minnesota offer early childhood education associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in a variety of formats. Selecting a program can be a daunting process. Determine which program may best fit your needs and schedule by setting up a time to talk with your Professional Development Advisor.
Professional Development Advisors
Professional Development Advisors are available throughout the state to provide support in a variety of capacities. Whether you are new to the early childhood education field, pursuing or renewing a Parent Aware Rating, exploring what your career next steps, or simply completing your annual professional development requirements, there is support available to you. Connect with your local Professional Development Advisor today.
Your PDA can help:
- Determine trainings that may already count toward your Parent Aware Rating
- Select additional trainings that fit your schedule and meet state or Parent Aware Rating requirements
- Answer your questions about training
- Create a Professional Development Plan to meet your goals
- Connect you to unique opportunities and job openings
- Navigate career pathways and learn about how your education relates
Power to the Profession
The Power to the Profession initiative’s intent is to professionalize the early childhood field and create stronger community standards throughout it. The initiative aims to establish a unifying framework for career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards, and compensation that unifies the entire profession.