The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is the most widely recognized in early childhood education; the CDA presents child care providers with opportunities in career advancement, in-service hours, and new job opportunities. In this series, we’re highlighting educators who have successfully graduated with their CDA through NECC’s Coaching to Completion model. Get to know them below!
How long have you been working in the child care industry / how did you begin your journey as a provider?
I began as a sub in 2009 for my neighbor. In November of 2010, I started watching a family friend’s infant full time with my preschooler. I have always loved being a mom and loved having little kids around to teach and love. I continued working license-exempt until August of 2020 when I started the Licensing Toolkit with NECC and was issued my provisional license on 12/21/2020. I actually earned my CDA before my operational license was issued!
Describe your experience completing your CDA – what made you want to obtain it? Were you impacted by the pandemic? If so, how?
At one point in a coaching call with Michelle, she mentioned my CDA as a future goal. I thought there is no way I can handle that on top of everything else in my life, plus it is way too much for me to invest right now. I sat in a focus group with First Five Nebraska talking about the School Readiness Tax Credit and Katie discussed the scholarship options out there and a little more about the CDA process. I started thinking, hmm well maybe this is possible. After really examining my training certificates and looking at the training class I decided to just take the jump and do it!
The pandemic was actually in many ways beneficial to me. I started the Business Training Series Spring 2020 cohort in person but had to complete it virtually. I started looking at NECPRS, seeing how many free online trainings there were available, and just started to enroll in everything I could. I completed all my ELGs, I finished both business series, I took every nature training available. Virtual training opened up opportunities I would never have been able to make in person, but could send off my last daycare kid and log on to a training session within 5 minutes. I was able to look beyond my area and take advantage of so much more. From July of 2020 to December of 2021 I completed 272 hours of training, meeting SUTQ Step 2 requirements and completing every CDA training hour in 17 months.
Do you have any additional feedback you’d like to share about your experience with NECC’s CDA course?
While you are able to complete your CDA without taking a class I believe the accountability, discussions, and feedback to be very beneficial to me on my CDA path.
If you could change one thing about child care in our community, across our state, or even around the world, what would you wish to change?
I would love childcare providers to be seen as valuable members of the education community.
To see care as a basic right and essential foundation of education.
What is it like to be in the child care/education industry? What impact do you wish to make or are you making on the lives of those in our community, both young and old?
I love being a child care provider! I spend my days getting cuddles and playing with kids. I design the day, our play, to help kids question the world around them and fill it with love, laughter, and learning. Each tiny person I have had the privilege to know has left a mark on my heart. What I do for these families and kids will help make the world a better place with kids who love others, respect life, are inquisitive, safe, and secure.
What do you wish other people knew about child care/education in our community?
It’s expensive, but we don’t make much. It’s more than babysitting. We are absolutely educators. We love your kids and we love your families. A simple thank you goes a very long way.
What are some other opportunities, classes, or resources you’d like to see offered to our community by NECC?
NAYCC accreditation? Help with association fees?
You guys are amazing and really help providers (an AOK graduate, an Elevated Provider, a Toolkit graduate, now a CDA graduate, and an Advisory council member).
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and something you’d like people to know about you.
I am married to my high school sweetheart, together for 28 years married for 24. This past May 3 of my 5 kids graduated, 2 from college! I am a nature lover, but a winter hater, trying hard to embrace no such thing as bad weather. I am a homebody and prefer slippers and a book to going out.
Anything else you’d like to share about child care, education, or NECC?
Thank you for all your hard work for providers, parents, kids and the community NECC staff. You have made a difference in my life, and many more through the state.