Child Development Associate (CDA)

A Comprehensive Learning Opportunity for Your Professional Growth

Our CDA curriculum was developed with the working student in mind. It is a flexible option for those who may not be able to complete the CDA in a traditional setting.

What is a CDA?

CDA stands for Child Development Associate. The Child Development Associate Credential is the most widely known and valued credential in early childhood education. It is a national credential recognized in all 50 states and is awarded to educators working with children from birth to age 5 who complete a 120 hour program which can equate to 9 hours of college credit. Through these courses, you will demonstrate and strengthen your practices in teaching young children. With our CDA program at 4-C, you can build a strong foundation of professional knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in early childhood education and continue to guide you forward in your important work!

What makes our CDA program different?

We have designed a course syllabus to meet the needs of working professionals. Coursework is completed independently through our on-line Learning Management System at a flexible pace. Our CDA Coordinator will meet with each candidate to design the pathway that best meets his/her needs. The lessons are multi-modal in their approach – including lectures, videos, hands-on activities, reading, written assignments, as well as a monthly live face to face session for group reflection and portfolio support.

We also offer a CDA Hybrid Plan- This plan is designed for educators who already have completed a substantial number of ECE-TRIS credit hours (at least 30 hours) that can count toward their 120 hour total. For educators in this program, our CDA specialist will review their ECE-TRIS training record and assign specific lessons from the 8 modules that will meet the criteria needed for their remaining 120 hours, ensuring that 15 hours in each CDA subject area is met. The CDA Coordinator will also assist in guiding these educators through the Professional Portfolio process to make sure that all required items are in place.

Interested in the 4-C CDA program? Email CDA Coordinator, Gabriella Greenwell: [email protected]

What are the CDA Course Requirements?

Coursework is designed around eight subject areas:

I. Planning a safe and healthy learning environment;
II. Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development;
III. Supporting children’s social and emotional development;
IV. Building productive relationships with families;
V. Managing an effective program;
VI. Maintaining a commitment to professionalism;
VII. Observing and recording children’s behavior; and
VIII. Understanding principles of child development and learning.

In addition to the 120 hours of coursework, students must clock 480 hours of classroom experience working with children in their age group (e.g., Birth – 36 Months for Infant/Toddler Credential; Ages 3-5 for Preschool Credential). Within six months of submitting the CDA application, students must submit a Professional Portfolio (in addition to being observed as the lead teacher in their classroom). This CDA program is uniquely designed to support teachers throughout their journey – we offer support through coursework, portfolio development, required classroom observations, and CDA test prep.

4-C’s CDA Program Goals:

  • To deepen your understanding of the physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive development of young children, as well as their acquisition of language and literacy
  • To appreciate the whole child and to understand that every child is competent, inquisitive, and a constructor of knowledge
  • To learn how to deeply observe children to assess their needs, interests, and welfare
  • To begin to analyze early childhood research and apply it to your own philosophy of education
  • To become a professional in the early childhood field, and to evaluate your roles and responsibilities in the classroom and as a co-worker
  • To create partnerships with families and offer authentic opportunities for family involvement
  • To recognize and celebrate each child’s unique community, culture, and diversity
  • To develop a positive approach to education—to generate an atmosphere centered on trust, guidance, and relationships
  • To identify a variety of teaching strategies and methods, and to apply a personal pedagogy to the classroom
  • To examine play and to analyze its essential role in the development of young children
  • To gain increased awareness of a number of educational theorists and philosophers who have championed early childhood education; to develop the ability to explain, compare, and apply their methods (e.g., Vygotsky, Gardner, Maslow, Piaget, Erikson, Paley, etc.)

For more information or to enroll in the 4-C CDA program, please contact:

Gabriella Greenwell, CDA Coordinator
[email protected]

Scholarship Information:
Child Care Aware of KY offers the Early Childhood Development Scholarship to pay for the CCCC and CDA credentials. As long as you are a KY resident and are employed at least 20 hours/week in a participating early childhood facility, you may qualify for this scholarship.

For more information about scholarships and to see if you qualify, please contact Child Care Aware of KY:

Susan Bowles, Professional Development Coach
[email protected]

Click here for an announcement about the scholarship application process.

Thank you to our sponsor.