Image: Edward Zigler, assisted by Marilyn M. Smith, presents the first CDA Credential to Margaret E. Wright on July 24, 1975, in Washington, DC (Source - Council for Professional Recognition).

Originally Published June 5, 2019

For over 50 years, Head Start has prepared children for Kindergarten by providing services that foster growth in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In the words of former President Obama, “For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids, it’s been the start of a better life.”

Since 1975, the Council for Professional Recognition has awarded the Child Development Associate Credential. The passing this year of Dr. Ed Zigler, known as the Father of Head Start, provides an opportunity to celebrate what this credential has meant to the field. The CDA has, for more than 425,000 credential holders, been the pathway to a career in early childhood, a degree in early childhood and in many cases, led to increased wages.  

The CDA is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and is a minimum education requirement for Head Start center-based preschool assistant teachers, center-based infant and toddler teachers, family childcare providers, and home visitors. CDA candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past five years.
  • Have 120 clock hours of formal childcare education within the past five years.

Teachstone’s CDA with CLASS® is a comprehensive solution, combining required professional learning and the key elements of CLASS® that enhance educator-child interactions. CLASS® interactions is backed by over 200 research studies, underscoring that improved interactions lead to superior social and academic outcomes for children. This offering ensures that caregivers and educators meet regulatory standards and are equipped with the tools to ensure every child experiences life-changing interactions that foster their growth and development.

For Head Start, the CDA continues to be a pathway into the teaching field. We are so proud to provide a CDA program backed by the ever-growing research around educator-child interactions. While acquiring the CDA is a big commitment, here are the top reasons to consider Teachstone’s CDA with CLASS®:

  • Choose a learning experience to meet your schedule: from self-paced online learning to a 24-week guided online experience, there’s an option to meet any busy schedule. 
  • Earn 9 ECE college credits: continue your professional learning and seamlessly transfer credits to Waldorf University’s Early Childhood Associate’s program.
  • Applicable learning: enjoy engaging coursework that can be applied to daily practice immediately.
  • Easy-to-use platform: access learning from anywhere on any device using our easy-to-use platform that guides you throughout the learning journey.

Already have your CDA? We offer the CDA Renewal with CLASS®, which provides all the hours and information needed to renew the credential you worked so hard to earn.

 Start Your CDA Journey Today