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?
As a young teen, I knew my career would be wrapped around “littles”. There is nothing more rewarding than the sound of a child’s giggle, the snuggling of infants, or the overwhelming joy you feel when a child masters a new skill. I knew 19 years ago before we had our first child I would find the means to be a stay-at-home mom. I told myself after our second child was in kindergarten I was going to close my business and go out into the working world again. He is now 14. Now, 18 years later, I am still going strong and loving every minute of it!
Describe your experience completing your CDA – what made you want to obtain it? Were you impacted by the pandemic? If so, how?
I chose to obtain my CDA to better myself and my business. To show families that after all these years I am still invested and willing to go the extra mile. This is something I had desired to do for years but the timing was never on my side. Throughout my CDA completion, I learned a great deal about myself as a provider and my program. I learned my strengths and how to improve my areas of weakness. However, the one thing I did not count on was the comradery.
Do you have any additional feedback you’d like to share about your experience with NECC’s CDA course?
This course was the most gratifying challenge I have completed during my time as an in-home provider. The comradery shown by everyone was awesome. The support from each instructor was amazing. I know in my heart I could not have accomplished this without them.
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?
Without a doubt, we need more providers in our area and across the states. Providers that will go the extra mile and understand we have one of the most important and gratifying jobs. However, we also need support. Support from parents who acknowledge and understand how important we are in early childhood education and realize how hard we work. We need a recruitment system and stronger means of support for those interested in becoming an in-home provider. I am so thankful for the support I have received from NECC and Wonderschool over the last few years. I wish I had access to their platforms 18 years ago when I opened my business.
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?
Being a provider takes dedication and commitment. I dedicate myself to the needs of my families on a daily basis, both on and off the clock. I strive to be the best and one of the most highly recommended providers in my area. My daily task is to teach each child in my program great social/emotional skills, language, literacy, and to help prepare those going to preschool and kindergarten how to be responsible and respectful. I thrive every day on making the most impact I can in a child’s life to support and teach them to be a good role model for those around them. I do everything I can to communicate with families and offer advice and support when asked or needed. Mostly, I provide the best care possible to every child and family that walks in my door.
What do you wish other people knew about child care/education in our community?
Providers need others to understand how important we truly are in the lives of young children, and understand the importance of our work. Some feel we overcharge for services, but do we? I personally feel there is a huge lack of realization in understanding how hard we work. We thrive to educate children to the best of our ability. We need more affordable access to educational products to allow us to teach these children and give them a head start on their education.
What are some other opportunities, classes, or resources you’d like to see offered to our community by NECC?
I would love to see a recruitment program put in place for new providers. A program set up as a mini crash course to aid in the startup process of policy and handbook writing, enrollment, etc. I believe if we could implement a strategy as such in communities, it would lead to strong encouragement for those who have the desire but not the means.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and something you’d like people to know about you.
In my free time, I love to craft and design signs and decor for my home or to give as gifts. Our family enjoys camping, boating, water sports, fishing and hunting. I like to be busy and am a bit of a clean freak. I enjoy grilled food and the company of friends.
Anything else you’d like to share about child care, education, or NECC?
I would like to thank NECC from the very bottom of my heart. The support you have given me the last few years has truly simplified my business life. The opportunities you offer are ones every provider should have a chance to experience. Thank you so very much for your support, kindness, and assistance in providing me the means to grow my business into so much more than it was before.