Obtaining a Childhood Development Associate Credential is contingent on passing an exam based on eight subject areas. You must also complete 120 hours of formal childcare training and at least ten hours of training in each subject area. Atlas Training is a program in child development that is based on the national CDA Credential. To help prepare our students for their exams, this article will focus on the eight subject areas of the Childhood Development Associate credential and what you will be studying in each.

CDA Credential Subject Areas

Planning a safe and healthy learning environment

This subject area focuses on learning how to provide a safe and healthy environment for young children. When studying this subject, you’ll be studying several aspects of safety. These may include but are not limited to, indoor/outdoor safety concerns, safe food handling, disease prevention, and even reporting child abuse. You’ll be studying the process of strengthening the family bond which will lessen the risk of child abuse and neglect. There is also a focus on minimizing children’s exposure to toxins and poisons.

Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development

In this subject area, you will be studying the cognitive, physical, language, emotional, and social development of children who are three to five years old. Part of the studying process is also learning the typical needs and characteristics of children at each age level. Observing motor skills, growth patterns, and language development are all apart of learning how to advance children’s physical and intellectual development.

Supporting children’s social and emotional development

This subject usually focuses on children from birth to six years of age. You will learn how to use positive guidance to teach the child routines and schedules. Developing an age-appropriate curriculum and activities is also a large part of children’s social and emotional development. After studying this subject, you will be able to recognize certain behaviors that can signal developmental delays and disabilities.

Building productive relationships with families

When you are studying any type of early childhood learning, you will have to learn how to develop positive relationships with the child’s family. Learning how to communicate effectively, respect diversity, and handle difficult situations ensures harmony between you, the child, and their parents. You will also learn how to make a positive first impression on parents who are looking to enroll their child at your facility. Part of making this impression is being able to communicate your facility’s policy and philosophy to prospective parents.

Managing and effective operation

In this subject, you will be studying the standards of creating a high-quality child care environment. You will learn how to display professionalism and recognize the characteristics of developmentally appropriate child care. This subject also includes areas on developing a problem-solving process and learning how to respect the diversity of children, their families, and the facility staff. You will also learn the purpose of early childhood education and what choices you have for various jobs in the childcare field.

Maintaining a commitment to professionalism

This subject area is for an early childhood professional who plans on working in an early childhood learning facility or in a home. You will examine the standards for high-quality childcare as well as how to show respect for the diversity among children and their families. There is also a section on how to have a harmonious workplace. Most of this focus is on recognizing stress in staff and learning how to identify the sources of it. You will also focus on your own stress management skills and learn how to help children develop their own coping skills in difficult situations. Another big part of this subject is to create a five-step problem-solving process for staff to follow.

Observing and recording children’s behavior

This subject area applies to children of all ages. You will learn how to observe children and assess their development. There are various types of observation records and purposes for these observations. This subject area covers how to plan observation, what to look for in observation sessions, and ways to use observation in the early childhood development program. You will also learn about the types of records that can be used to document the child’s development and how to include the parents in the observation process.

Understanding the principles of child development and learning

This subject area will teach you the basic principles of children’s development and learning. You will study the different ways children learn as well as the role of play in children’s learning and development. The role of social and cultural context also plays a big part in learning and development. There is also a section on the ways adults can apply the principles of early childhood learning to provide a high-quality early childhood program.

Atlas Training recognizes the CDA to be a pathway to professional development and fully supports early childhood teacher degree attainment. Atlas Training is intended to support those working with young children to increase their skill level in working with either infants and toddlers, preschoolers or in family childcare homes. Contact us today for more information.

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