The Ultimate Guide to Obtaining Grants for Daycare Centers

grants for daycare centers

If you are looking for grants for opening daycare centers in Missouri, you are in luck. In Missouri, there are various financial assistance programs available to help daycare owners manage their business.  In this article, we will discuss some of the programs and grants for opening a daycare center that are available to Missouri residents, and how to apply for them.

What Grants are Available for Opening a Daycare Center in Missouri?

There are many grants available for opening a daycare center in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers a Child Care Grant Program that provides financial assistance to child care providers who meet the requirements set by the state. The program is designed to help low-income families afford quality child care.

In addition, the Missouri Department of Economic Development offers a Child Care Facility Development Grant Program that provides financial assistance to businesses that want to open or expand a child care center. The program is designed to create or expand child care facilities that will serve low-income and working families.

There are also many private grants available for daycare centers. The Missouri Child Care Association offers a variety of grants to members, and the Missouri Department of Social Services offers a Child Care Resource and Referral Grant Program that provides financial assistance to families who are looking for child care.

So, there are many grants available for daycare centers in Missouri. If you are interested in opening a daycare center, be sure to research the different grants available and see which ones you qualify for.

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Obtain Grants for Daycare Centers?

You’ve decided that you want to apply for a grant to help fund your business, but what are the eligibility requirements for each type of grant?  What paperwork must you have at the ready before you begin your application?

The eligibility requirements for each type of grant vary, so it’s important to do your research before applying. 

For example, some grants are only available to businesses in specific industries, while others are open to businesses of all sizes.

In general, you’ll usually need to meet the following eligibility requirements to be considered for a grant:

  • You must be a legal resident of the United States.
  • You must be a business owner or entrepreneur.
  • Your business must be in operation for at least one year.
  • Your business must be profitable.
  • Your business must have a good credit score.
  • Your business must be in compliance with all state and federal regulations.

There are many ways to apply for a grant, but the most common way is to submit a proposal to the grant-making organization. 

The proposal should include a cover letter, table of contents, project description, budget, and resumes of the project team.

What Programs and Grants for Opening a Daycare Center are Available to me?

Financial assistance can come in the form of grants, loans, or tax credits.

Grants are a type of financial assistance that does not have to be paid back. This makes them a great option for those who are starting a daycare. Grants are available from a variety of sources, including the government and private organizations.

Loans are another option for financial assistance. They typically must be paid back, but they can be a great way to get started with your daycare. There are a variety of loan options available, so be sure to explore them all.

Tax credits are another great way to get financial assistance for your daycare center. They can help reduce the amount of taxes you owe, which can be a great help with your start-up costs. 

There are a variety of tax credits available, so be sure to research the ones that are best for you.

All these options can help you get started with your daycare. Be sure to research all your options and find the best one for you.

To learn more about the grants available to open a daycare center in Missouri, visit the website of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. There you can find a list of all the grants available, along with their eligibility requirements and application forms.

  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers a Child Care Grant Program that provides financial assistance to child care providers who meet the requirements set by the state. The program is designed to help low-income families afford quality child care.
  • The Missouri Department of Economic Development offers a Child Care Facility Development Grant Program that provides financial assistance to businesses that want to open or expand a child care center. The program is designed to create or expand child care facilities. 
  • The Missouri Child Care Association offers a variety of grants to members.
  • The Missouri Department of Social Services offers a Child Care Resource and Referral Grant Program that provides financial assistance to families who are looking for child care.

Some additional grant opportunities not outlined above include: 

The Childcare Development Fund

The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal and state partnership program authorized under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and administered by states, territories and tribes with funding and support from the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care. 

States use the CCDF to invest in quality to benefit more children by building the skills and qualifications of the teacher workforce, supporting child care programs to achieve higher standards, and providing consumer education to help parents select child care that meets their families’ needs.

This grant provides up to $50,000 for the development or improvement of a child care facility. The grant can be used for the purchase of property, renovation of facilities, equipment, and other costs associated with starting or expanding a daycare center.

The Innovation Startup

This grant for opening a daycare opportunity allows for increased access to child care in partnership with a business or community partner. 

The amount of funding is dependent upon the facility capacity, traditional and/or non-traditional hours of operation, and a commitment in matching funds or in-kind contributions to support the new child care program. 

To be eligible, the child care program must plan to operate in a location where no other child care providers were licensed as of Dec. 1, 2022. The applicant must not have previously operated a child care program there either.

Preference will be given to rural communities and child care deserts.

Once awarded, payments will be made to the child care provider based on the matching funds or in-kind contributions from the business or community partner and three required licensing activities: 

  • completing the initial inspection
  • obtaining a child care license
  • completing the post-licensing inspection

Deadline to apply for the Innovation Grant to Start-up a New Child Care Program is May 31, 2023.  If awarded, the provider must become a licensed child care program with children enrolled by March 31, 2024.

What Are the Benefits of Receiving Grants for Opening a Daycare Center?

There are many benefits to receiving a grant. One of the biggest benefits is that you will have extra money to spend on your business. This extra money can be used to pay for advertising, marketing, and other costs associated with running your business. 

Additionally, grants can help you to establish your business credit. When you receive a grant, the grant issuer will often report the grant to the major credit reporting agencies. This will help to build your business credit history and make it easier to borrow money in the future. Finally, grants can help you to qualify for other types of financing. By demonstrating that you have received outside financing, you can show that your business is worthy of investment.

How Do You Apply for Financial Assistance to Open a Daycare in Missouri?

To apply for financial assistance to open a daycare in Missouri, you will need to complete the Daycare Financial Assistance Application. This application can be found on the Department of Social Services website. 

The application will ask for information about your business, such as your name, address, and contact information. It will also ask for information about your daycare, such as the ages of the children you plan to care for and the hours of operation.

The application will require you to provide proof of your income and assets. This can include bank statements, tax returns, and business licenses.

Once you have completed the application, you will need to submit it to the Department of Social Services. 

The Department will review your application and will let you know if you are eligible for financial assistance. If you would like to receive direct assistance from Child Care Aware® of Missouri, reach out to us today

Your Guide to T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Scholarships

Education is expensive, but it’s also crucial to your personal and professional development, especially in the child care field. Teaching in Missouri is a highly complicated field, especially when it comes to early childhood education. As such, you need all the knowledge and help you can get to do the job effectively. A T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant can be a helpful tool to get you the education and career advancement you’re looking for.

Here, we’re answering the core questions people have before they apply for these scholarships. Read through them to see if a T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant might be a good fit for you. If so, we’ll have some guidance on how to apply at the end. 

What is a T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant?

A T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant is a scholarship program for early childhood professionals and those teaching in Missouri. The recipient, their sponsoring employer, and the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri organization make an agreement. Each party is responsible for different things: 

  • The recipient attends college courses, working toward a certification, degree, or simply further education. They are responsible for a portion of the costs associated with these classes, like books. Further, they promise to continue working in the field or at their sponsoring program for a certain amount of time after completing the terms of the contract. 
  • T.E.A.C.H. Missouri covers a larger share of those expenses. To help cover travel costs getting to and from class, T.E.A.C.H. Missouri also offers a $55 accessibility stipend for recipients. Once the recipient completes the terms of the contract, the organization will also give them a $450 bonus. 
  • The sponsoring employer also pays for a portion of the cost of tuition and books. There are other benefits the employer might provide to the recipient, which vary between programs. The options include paid time off to study for class, a bonus upon completing the classes specified in the contract, and a raise. Each contract specifies what exactly is expected of the sponsoring employer.

There are a lot of scholarships under the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant umbrella. They are:

  • Entry Associate Degree Scholarship
  • Associate Degree Scholarship
  • Pre-Certification Scholarships
  • Student Teaching Scholarship
  • Bachelor Degree Scholarship
  • CDA Scholarship

We’ve already written pretty extensively about the CDA T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant, so we won’t go into depth about that one here. Instead, we’ll expand on each of the other types of scholarships that can help you toward your goal of better teaching in Missouri in the following sections.

Entry Associate Degree Scholarship

This program is ideal for those who’d like to take a few classes in early childhood education at a two-year college. It’s meant for early childhood education or early childhood special education classes only. 

One key difference between this scholarship and the one we will discuss in the next section is that this can only be used for one year. It’s a good fit for people who are looking to earn some credits but are not necessarily pursuing a degree, or aren’t yet sure if they want to earn a degree. If you do decide you want to go for an associate degree, the Entry Associate Degree Scholarship is not renewable, but you can apply for the regular Associate Degree Scholarship. If you don’t, then you’ll just have a better education for teaching in Missouri. 

Associate Degree Scholarship

Once you’ve completed your first year of an associate program, this scholarship could be a good fit. It can be maintained for as many years as it takes to earn a degree. Another key difference between this T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant and the previous one we detailed is that it can be used toward all the classes required for a degree, not just ones specific to early childhood education.

Pre-Certification Scholarships

Within this category of T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grants, there are two different options that might be a good fit for your needs. One of them is for those with one semester before their student teaching in Missouri begins, and the other is for those who have two semesters. Pretty straight forward. 

If you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree and are coming up on your student teaching requirement, definitely give this scholarship some consideration. Use the specificity to your advantage.

Student Teaching Scholarship

If you only have one semester of student teaching in Missouri left before earning your degree, then this scholarship could be a perfect fit for you. In fact, it’s tailored specifically for people who need to fulfill their student teaching requirement. The next scholarship on this list helps more broadly with a bachelor’s degree, but this one is only for the portion of those programs that’s student teaching in Missouri.

Bachelor Degree Scholarship

If none of the other scholarships for working toward a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or early childhood special education make sense for you, then this scholarship might be the best fit. Do consider the other options, though, if you are approaching your student teaching in Missouri. You want to find the one that’s most specific to your situation.

It’s also worth noting that T.E.A.C.H. Missouri prefers that you take your general education classes at a two-year institution before completing your bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. It’s possible to take all of your courses at a four-year institution; just make sure you discuss this option with your Scholarship Counselor. 

Who is eligible for a T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant?

The requirements for an applicant are pretty specific. Teachers, directors, assistants, on-site owners, and family group or home child care staff might be eligible, but they have to fit more criteria. 

First, they should want to earn college credit in the early childhood field, either toward a CDA, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Second, they need to do daily work with children under 5 in a licensed or license-exempt child care program. This needs to total at least 30 hours per week working directly with children, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be teaching in Missouri — assistants, directors, and owners also count. Third, they must be at least 18 years old and have already graduated from high school or earned a GED. Fourth, their income needs to be under $20 per hour if they are a teacher or assistant and under $25 per hour if they are a director or owner of a program. And lastly, it probably goes without saying, but they need to be authorized to work in the U.S.

Keep in mind that because the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grants are partnerships between the applicant, their sponsoring employer, and the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri organization, so part of that eligibility includes your employer agreeing to their part of the arrangement.

What is the sponsoring employer responsible for?

The different kinds of scholarships each have their own set of responsibilities for the sponsoring employer. We’ll get into the specifics for each one in a little bit, but there are some things they all have in common. Generally, they are responsible for some portion of the program’s cost for tuition and books. The exact amount will depend on a variety of factors. 

Paid time off is also included in some of the scholarship agreements. This stipulation is meant to accommodate situations like class time being during the work day, and sponsors usually only allow paid time off during weeks when the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant recipient is in class or has assignments due. 

Other scholarships stipulate that a certain amount of paid time off per week is dedicated to studying or preparing for class. These hours can come in the form of leaving early, arriving late, or taking a planned break during the day. It’s important for the sponsoring employer and the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant recipient to work out a schedule they can agree on. Since early childhood teaching in Missouri requires a certain number of professionals to be with the children, taking one teacher out to go study could cause problems if it’s not accounted for early on.

Most of this has been directed toward those who are teachers, directors, or otherwise an employee. Know that if you own a family child care home or center, then you will need to act as your own sponsor. So, you’ll have double the responsibilities, just in different areas.

Where can I take classes?

Take a look at the list of approved two- and four-year institutions here. There are lots of colleges and universities all over the state where you can further your career of early childhood teaching in Missouri. It might be a good idea to make sure there’s an approved institution near you before you dive deeper into the scholarships. 

I think I’m eligible. Now what?

Before you apply for a T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant, you need to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is so the program can use its funds in the most effective ways.

Choosing the right scholarship program for your goals is a key step. Consider your ultimate career goals and the education you need to get there. And if you’ve already completed part of a degree program, make sure you’re applying for the scholarship that will meet you where you’re at. Don’t count yourself out just because you’re not starting out your journey toward teaching in Missouri! People at many stages can find great scholarships through T.E.A.C.H. Missouri. If you’re still not sure, check out the scholarship selector tool. It’s a brief quiz that can help you find the right T.E.A.C.H. scholarship for you.

Scholarship Counselors are also available to help you navigate the whole process. Child care is an incredibly complicated industry, and the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grants can be equally tricky to navigate if you’re not sure what you’re doing. A Scholarship Counselor should be able to answer any remaining questions you have, get you on the right track, and offer any other guidance on the process that you might need. If they don’t have the help you need, they can surely point you in the right direction.

After You’ve Applied

There is a continuous waiting list for T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grants, and everyone eligible who completes the application gets added to this list. How many people are granted scholarships every semester depends on the availability of funds. Whether or not there are funds available for you, you’ll get a call a month and a half before the semester begins. You can stay on the waiting list for up to 12 months, and you can apply again after that time period to get back on it. 

You’re required to submit your FAFSA before you apply for one of these scholarships for teaching in Missouri, and you should continue exploring any other financial options after you apply, too.  

Find the right T.E.A.C.H. Missouri grant for you.

Endeavoring to get better at teaching in Missouri is a great goal, and now you’ve got some promising places to start looking for help toward that goal. Any of these choices for a scholarship might be the right fit for your needs; you just need to narrow down what your goals are.

A good place to start is to decide whether you’d like to earn a degree or a credential. If you’re only looking to take a class or two for your own development, that will considerably narrow your scholarship options for teaching in Missouri. Follow all the advice we’ve laid out here, contact Child Care Aware of Missouri if you have any further questions, and ultimately, apply for a scholarship that’s going to make a big difference in your professional life.

Finding the Right Daycare Positions for You

daycare positions

Picture yourself five years from now. 

You are standing in front of a group of small children, leading them in songs and activities. The laughter and energy in the room is palpable.

You feel as though you’re in your environment like you’ve found your calling. 

This is your dream daycare position; working with kids every day and helping them to learn and grow into strong, capable, young adults.  

But how did you get here? 

It all started with finding the right job in daycare for you – one that utilized your skills, passions, and talents. You put in the energy and time to research, train, and hone your craft to get to this point in your career.  

In this article, we will be discussing tips on what to look for when searching for jobs in daycare.  

From deciding what type of daycare positions, you’re interested in, to researching potential employers and obtaining any necessary certifications, we will lay it all out for you.  Understanding the full process of obtaining gainful employment in the early childhood education sector can be a challenging task, so read on for more information!

Define Your Goals and Expectations for A Daycare Position 

When searching for daycare positions, it’s important to have clear goals and expectations in mind.  

The last thing you want is to end up in a job that’s not for you because it looked good on paper, but you didn’t do enough research beforehand to understand what you want and need from a daycare position.  

You should always consider the key factors of what qualities and environment you desire from jobs in daycare as well as the facilities values, turnover rate, ratio of students to teachers, etc. By taking this into consideration beforehand, it will save you trouble down the road after you are employed.  

These key factors will vary by person, but some could also potentially affect which positions you’re qualified for, such as what age group you want to work with, if you will require health benefits or not, and what types of certifications you hold.  

A few areas that you may want to explore and research more before settling on a job include: 

  • Do you need flexible hours or a full-time position? 
  • Are there different areas of daycare that may be more attractive to you such as assisting with infants or preschool-aged children? 
  • What type of pay do you expect? 
  • How far are you willing to travel for work?
  • What values are important in a school, for you, as the teacher?

Once you have established your must-haves and preferences, the job-hunting process will become much easier for you. You will quickly be able to weed out employers that do not align with the pre-requisites you have set out for your job hunt.  

Since you’ve taken this step, your expectations will be top of mind when you begin researching daycare jobs or reach the interview stage and will help ensure you find the jobs in daycare that are a great fit for you.  This means less of a chance of getting stuck in a less than desirable daycare position. 

Do Your Research on Different Daycare Facilities in Your Area 

If you’re considering a daycare position, the most important part of the process is doing your research. In this article, we will discuss three methods for researching potential jobs in daycare you may be interested in.  

Read Reviews Online

Do your homework by reading reviews online from both parents and staff.  Try to review these with a discerning eye, as some reviews will be more biased based on individual hopes, desires, and experiences. Be sure that you can discern between the truth and what may be someone’s personal opinion and weigh both sides equally.  

Talk to the Parents

Ask the parents of children who attend the daycare questions about their experiences if it is possible, as they’ll be able to provide key insight into what it’s like day-to-day.  If you are local to the area, checking in with some of your local mom groups can help you get a better idea of how the facility is run. 

Visit the Facility

When available, consider taking a tour of the daycare facility so you can get an idea of the layout and how staff interact with children; this provides valuable insight that you wouldn’t get just from talking to parents or reading reviews online, and will help you to decide if the daycare positions being offered align with your values. Be sure to be on your toes and keep your eyes and ears open during your visit! 

Finally, be sure to keep an open mind when researching; don’t make assumptions based solely off online opinions, but rather rely on investigation and deeper understanding before coming to conclusions of your own. 

If you find a worrisome review from an ex-employee, ask about the situation so you can understand things from a more neutral perspective.  

Ultimately, by completing your research beforehand, you’ll be able to make a solid and informed decision regarding which jobs in daycare that are being offered are right for you.

When Applying for Jobs, Highlight Your Relevant Qualifications and Experience 

When applying for jobs in daycare, it is essential that you emphasize your qualifications and experience with children, so you can stand out from the crowd and get your resume noticed.   

Candidates should outline any certification they have obtained or experience they have gained while working with children, including volunteer work and any other daycare positions or jobs in daycare you have previously held. 

Your resume should list all the relevant qualifications and experiences that demonstrate your aptitude when caring for small children, since jobs you may have held that required a unique set of skills and attributes that will make you stand out to a potential employer. 

If you are applying for jobs in daycare, you should demonstrate that, not only do you possess characteristics such as a good attitude towards children and a passion for the job, but that you also are willing to go above and beyond to create an enriching environment for children to learn, play, and develop.

Certifications for Daycare Positions 

Finding daycare positions can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have the required certifications and credentials. 

Fortunately, there are many certifications that can help you get your foot in the door for your ideal job in daycare.

From child development to nutrition and safety training requirements, these certifications are a great way to show potential employers your dedication and qualifications for daycare work. 

If you are interested in furthering your education, or obtaining a certification you do not currently have, you can find more information on certifications on the Child Care Aware of Missouri website.  Our team is here to help better the education of children throughout the state of Missouri, and helping our teachers become highly trained is no exception! 

These certifications will also demonstrate your commitment to developing a career in daycare as well as helping you expand your skill set, and those are both things that are incredibly important to potential daycare employers. 

You’ll have a clear competitive edge with daycares when you hold relevant certifications, giving you the best chance to land one of these highly desired daycare positions.

Be Prepared for Interviews by Having Your Own Questions Ready

Considering how competitive the early childhood education sector is when it comes to landing jobs in daycare, it is important to be fully prepared for any interview you may have for potential positions in daycare. 

Doing research and formulating potential questions beforehand will give you the confidence to ask informed and meaningful questions during the interview. 

This thorough preparation can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your dedication to finding the best daycare position for your needs. Also, you should research the organization’s mission and values, so you understand what they are likely looking for in their employees.  

Review the organization’s policies and procedures pertaining to safety protocols and operating hours so you know exactly what will be expected of you if hired – and if you need something clarified, don’t be afraid to ask.  Be sure you feel clear on everything you had set out to learn before leaving your interview.  

Having smart questions ready to ask shows employers that you are thoughtfully considering the daycare job opportunity as well as eager to hit the ground running once it is offered.  Some examples of interview questions you may want to pose while at the daycare facility include: 

  • What are the primary responsibilities associated with this daycare job? 
  • What qualifications and experience do successful candidates typically have for daycare positions? 
  • What kind of training will I receive if hired? 

Asking these types of questions can help make sure that daycare jobs are a good fit for both employers and employees.

Follow Up After Interviews with a Thank-You Note or Email 

Similarly, to any other field, when considering daycare jobs, the importance of follow up must not be overlooked.   

After attending an interview for a daycare position, it is always wise to take the initiative to thank the interviewer for their time and to express your interest in the position again. 

Send them a thank-you note, or email tells the daycare that you are dedicated and serious about obtaining a daycare job.  By taking the extra effort to re-communicate your interest, you’re demonstrating your enthusiasm and appreciation of their tijme and consideration.  

Those who make this extra effort are likely to stand out from other candidates and may have a better chance of getting hired for the daycare position.

Tying it All Together

The right job in daycare can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it requires the right fit. 

Finding the perfect position is a process of exploration and understanding one’s own strengths, needs, and preferences. It requires research into the various kinds of jobs available in daycares, as well as an understanding of one’s unique qualities that would make them a great fit for each role.

For those interested in a career in child care, Missouri offers many options. 

Each position will have its own requirements and qualifications, so it is important to read through each description carefully to determine whether it is an appropriate match for you. 

To prepare for any interviews or applications to daycares around Missouri, research is essential; understand the types of programs offered by different agencies, the skills needed to effectively run those programs, and what kind of experience employers look for when hiring new staff members. 

Be prepared with questions about job expectations and how they might grow or evolve over time—these kinds of details may not come up during preliminary conversations but could provide valuable insight into how compatible a certain position might be with your professional goals. 

Finally, don’t forget that finding the right job also includes assessing your ability to manage daily tasks such as meeting deadlines and managing stress without compromising quality care or safety standards. 

While interviewing with potential employers be sure to emphasize these abilities by citing examples from past experiences—this will help demonstrate how you can handle responsibilities associated with childcare work while still providing exceptional service to both parents and children alike. 

It is easy to become overwhelmed during this process but remember that taking your time and doing thorough research will yield better results than rushing into something that might turn out to be less than ideal later down the road. 

Consider your personal strengths, find opportunities that best align with them and don’t forget about all the excellent resources available throughout Missouri—from online listings to child care aware organizations—to help you find just the right fit for you!

If you need further assistance locating the right daycare position for you, or if you have questions regarding obtaining certification for early childhood education, contact Child Care Aware of Missouri, and one of our team members will be happy to assist you!

What Is CDA Certification and How Can It Benefit My Career?

what is cda certification

You’ve likely heard of the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and may be wondering “what is the CDA credential?”, and how it can potentially benefit your career in child care?

The CDA credential is a nationally recognized early childhood education credential that can open doors to new job opportunities and career growth. In this blog post, we’ll discuss “what is a CDA license” and answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the credential.

We hope this post will leave you feeling informed and confident in your decision to pursue obtaining your CDA license!

What Is CDA Certification and What Does It Stand For?

A CDA certification, or CDA license, is a credential that demonstrates an individual’s competency in childcare.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is issued by the Council for Professional Recognition and is recognized across the United States as an early childhood education certificate.

To earn this credential individuals are required to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through coursework, professional experience, and a professional portfolio.

This national credential can open career advancement possibilities in many childcare centers as it reflects what individuals have learned and practiced so far in their field. It provides validation of what professional qualities they possess which can be very helpful when applying for jobs or promotions.

A CDA license can also prepare individuals to work in other roles such as a preschool teacher or special educator.  Having a CDA certification is recommended for anyone looking to break into the world of early childhood education or further advance their career.

What is CDA certification? What is Required to Obtain Your CDA Licensure

Having a CDA certification in early childhood education helps to ensure a continuity of care when it comes to working with children across the thousands of certified professionals.

It’s important to remember what a CDA certification is: a credential that recognizes the educational achievements as well as knowledge attained through work experience in early childhood education.

The CDA typically requires completion of a course from an accredited college or university, at least three semesters (or 480 hours) of classroom instruction, and supervised experience in practicum settings prior to getting your certification, the Council for Professional Recognition will review your qualifications and ensure you meet the standards needed to have your CDA license.

Applicants must also have at least 120 hours of formal education specific to a field within Child Development and have experience in an early childhood setting working directly with children. Additionally, applicants must apply for the CDA candidacy, take part in a one-time verification Visit, complete the reflective statement, and then attend follow-up visits.

Generally, this entire process can take up to 2 years in duration depending on what is required by each individual’s credentials.

Eligible Professional Work Experience

Paid or volunteer hours.  These must be completed prior to you submitting your initial CDA application.

Non-Eligible Work Experience Hours

Babysitting, before and after school programs, Sunday school programs and drop-in programs are not eligible settings where a candidate can prove his or her competence around the Competency Standards and experience hours in these settings, and therefore will not be counted towards the 480 hours of experience.

Achieving this credential offers many benefits such as job recognition, increased wages, and potential career advancement opportunities.  By acquiring this license, those in the field can demonstrate their commitment to professionalism in their field and enhance the level of trust they have with employers, while simultaneously demonstrating a commitment to their own professional development.

What is a CDA License? How to Ensure Your Training Hours are Accepted

All training must have been taken under the auspices of an early childhood training agency that has expertise in teacher preparation. Official documentation of the training must be provided in the form of a certificate, letter on official letterhead or a college transcript.

Training documentation should include the following: Training agency’s name and address (seal/logo), Candidate’s name, date of the training session(s), content area, number of hours successfully completed, and an authorized signature.

How do I convert my clock hours into training hours?
Please use the following formulas to convert your clock hours to training hours:1 CEU = 10 clock hours
1 Semester Credit = 15 clock hours
1 Quarter Credit = 10 clock hours
1 DHS Credit = 1 clock hour
1 Unit = 1 clock hour

To be eligible to apply for your first CDA, you need:12 CEUs = 120 clock hours
8 Semester Credits = 120 clock hours
12 Quarter Credits = 120 clock hours

What is CDA Certification? Maintaining Your Credentialing

After obtaining the CDA certification, it must be renewed every three years by completing professional development activities such as workshops, college courses or conferences.  It is to be noted that this renewal was every five years, up until November 2022, where it was changed to a three-year renewal period.

Why Was it Changed from Three to Five Year Renewal Periods?

After doing a study of industry standards for credential and certification renewals, the Council concluded three years is an efficient amount of time to reevaluate the continued professional development and performance of early educators. The early care and education profession is very delicate, and it is imperative for early educators to stay up to date with the latest theories, research/studies, appropriate practices, and latest trends in the early childhood education field. The continuous professional development of CDA Credential holders is a must to ensure the quality of care and education provided to our nation’s youngest children.

Upon renewal, you will need to show proof of ongoing contacts with teachers or specialists in the early childhood field. To apply online or to view more information on renewals, you can find downloadable materials and applications on

What is a CDA Certification? Are There Ways to Obtain Financial Assistance?

Child Care Aware of Missouri is a helpful resource for those seeking financial aid to complete your CDA certification. Child Care Aware of Missouri offers a range of resources such as financial assistance, tuition grants, and online training material.

Through Child Care Aware’s Financial Support Program, families can apply for tuition assistance or grants to help cover the cost of tuition and registration fees associated with pursuing their CDA certification.

For example, the Child Care Professional Student Tuition Grant is offered to those who are enrolled in an accredited Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) program. This grant offers up to $500 in tuition assistance that can be used towards CDA coursework and expenses related to the credentialing process.

Families can also apply for the Early Childhood Professional Tuition Grant which provides up to $500 in financial support for those enrolled in courses that meet requirements established by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, or Missouri Division of Professional Regulation.

In addition to tuition grants and other forms of financial assistance, Child Care Aware of Missouri also provides online training materials which focus on topics such as child development basics, health and safety practices, cultural awareness and appreciation, positive guidance techniques for young children with challenging behaviors, teaching methods for early learning activities, and much more.

The online interactive lessons offer students an opportunity to learn at their own pace while deepening their knowledge base around key concepts related to early childhood education. Furthermore, these training materials provide individuals with insight into best practices when caring for young children as well as information regarding professional development opportunities offered through local organizations, universities, and vocational schools.

We encourage you to utilize the Child Care Aware of Missouri resource available to those seeking financial aid or additional educational resources in order to complete their Child Development Associate Certification.

Whether it’s applying for a tuition grant or brushing up on foundational concepts related to early childhood education- there are plenty of helpful tools available through Child Care Aware of Missouri that can assist individuals in reaching their professional goals within the field of child care services.

What is a CDA Certification? Wrapping up and The Process A-Z

In Missouri, obtaining a Child Development Associate (CDA) is an important step for those interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you have the best chance of obtaining your CDA:

First, make sure you understand the requirements. The CDA credential has specific educational, training and work experience requirements that vary from state to state. In Missouri, applicants must have at least 120 hours of training in early care and education topics and 480 hours of documented experience teaching or providing direct services working with children ages birth through five years old. Additionally, applicants will need to meet any age-specific requirements that may apply to their program or employer.

Second, research the various types of CDA programs available in Missouri. There are programs offered through universities and community colleges, as well as online courses and workshops sponsored by non-profits or state agencies. Each program will have its own curriculum and timeframe for completion so it’s important to find one that works best for you and matches your goals.

Third, once you’ve chosen a program it’s time to get started on the application process. You’ll need to fill out an application form which includes personal information such as address, contact information, educational background, and work experience. You may also be asked to provide letters of recommendation from employers or teachers who can vouch for your skills and character.

Fourth, once your application materials are submitted it’s time to take the assessment test that is part of the CDA credential evaluation process. This test covers general early childhood knowledge as well as key topics related to child development such as health safety nutrition and guidance techniques for working with young children. It’s important to prepare beforehand by reviewing study guides available online or provided by your chosen certification program provider before taking the test itself.

Finally after submitting all application materials taking the assessment test and passing it with a score of at least 80 percent you will need to complete a professional portfolio demonstrating your knowledge skills work experiences observations lesson plans etc related to caring for young children once this is finished you should receive notification within two months if you passed or not.  Once approved you will become a nationally certified Child Development Associate enabling you to pursue a career in early childhood education in Missouri!

The CDA credential is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates when you are applying for jobs in the field of early childhood education. It shows that you have taken the initiative to obtain additional training and that you are committed to providing high-quality care to children. The process of obtaining your CDA credential can take anywhere from several months to a year, but it is well worth the effort.

Once you have obtained your CDA credential, you will need to renew it every three years by completing professional development activities and submitting a portfolio documenting your work with children. There are many benefits to having a CDA credential, including improved job prospects, increased self-confidence, and recognition by peers as being a leader in the field of early childhood education.

If you are interested in pursuing your own CDA credential, reach out to the friendly staff at Child Care Aware of Missouri for further information on your journey!

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Jobs in Daycare Near Me

jobs in daycare near me

Finding the perfect job in daycare can be an overwhelming process, even for experienced educators. With so many choices on offer, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. That’s why Child Care Aware of America offers a platform to search through countless jobs quickly and easily near you that perfectly match your skills and interests. Searching our database will provide you with the most comprehensive list of daycare positions available in your area.

When searching for “Jobs in daycare near me” there are several important factors to consider. Every early childhood education school has its own unique mission, values, and teacher expectations, which makes it essential to ensure that the role aligns with your skillset as an educator.

To make sure that you’re up to date with the latest industry standards, it’s important to research any potential employers and read through any job postings thoroughly before applying.

The best jobs often require advanced qualifications and expertise – such as additional training or certifications – so it pays to invest in yourself if you want to get ahead in this field. Of course, reliable references from previous experience are highly valued too!

If you live in Missouri and are looking for jobs in daycare near you, Child Care Aware of Missouri is here to help.  We have compiled a list of available jobs throughout the state, so it’s easy to find daycare positions that meet your needs.  Whether you’re searching for full-time or part-time employment, our database includes jobs that provide flexible work hours and competitive pay.

In this article, we will dive deeper into locating “jobs in daycare near me,” what prerequisites are required to obtain a daycare in Missouri, and how to put your best foot forward as you go about the application process.

Researching the Childcare Industry for “Jobs in Daycare Near Me”

When searching for available jobs in day care, it is important to understand the various daycare settings, roles, and positions that are available in your area.

Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo can provide you with a good starting point when performing a “Jobs in Daycare Near Me” search.

However, if you find yourself unable to locate the necessary information from these sites, here are some alternate ways to locate daycare positions close to you that fit your needs.

The Child Care Aware of Missouri Website

The Child Care Aware of America website is an invaluable resource for researching job openings in day care settings. It provides comprehensive information about day care facilities and roles that are available throughout the United States.

On this site, one can find out about the various types of programs offered by different daycare providers and whether they are currently looking to hire new staff members.

Additionally, they offer insight into potential areas where there may be “jobs in daycare near me” that one can apply for. The website includes detailed information on different types of daycare settings, including:

  • Center-based care
  • Family childcare
  • In-home care
  • Preschools
  • Afterschool programs

It also includes profiles of childcare professionals, such as directors, teachers, and caregivers.  This information can help determine what type of job in daycare is right for you.

Contacting Local Daycare Providers

In addition to searching online resources such as Google or Child Care Aware of America for jobs in daycare near me, it is also possible to make direct contact with local daycare providers or centers near you.  Contacting them directly will provide you with a more personal connection and allow them to get to know you better before making a hiring decision. Reaching out through email is generally recommended because most daycares prefer digital correspondence over phone calls or letters.

Networking with Your Community

Finally, networking within the community can also be helpful when applying for jobs in daycare near me.

Talking with other parents who have had experience working at local child care centers can give valuable insight into which ones have good reputations and which ones would be worth avoiding altogether.

Asking friends or family members who work in daycare positions could also lead one towards open positions at their place of work or another facility which may not have posted an opening yet but could use additional help, nonetheless.

Ultimately, researching “Jobs in Daycare Near Me” requires patience and determination as not all options will be immediately visible without some form of research or networking involved to find positions that best fit your skillset and requirements when seeking employment within the childcare industry.

What Prerequisites Will I Require for a Daycare Position in Missouri?

In Missouri, daycare providers must be at least 18 years old and have obtained the appropriate education or training for the “job in daycare near me” they are pursuing.

Depending on the type of daycare facility, additional requirements may include health screenings, background checks, a Child Development Associate credential, and CPR certification, among others.

For more detailed information on daycare qualifications and requirements in the state of Missouri, as set forth by the Department of Health and Senior Services, please visit their website.

What if I Have Never Held Daycare Positions Before?

If you’re new to your career and are just starting, do not worry!

There are many ways to increase your early childhood education experience to help you become a more well-rounded candidate for jobs in daycare near me.  The best approach is to consider taking on a volunteer position at a local daycare center to gain more experience with children.

While it may be unpaid, or low pay, you will be gaining valuable knowledge and setting yourself up for a career in your chosen field.

Another way to gain early childhood education experience is through classes or workshops. Many community colleges and universities offer courses in this area that can be taken part-time or online. You’ll learn more about the development of children, childcare operations, and other important topics related to jobs in daycare near me.

Also, you can get hands-on experience working as a nanny or babysitter. Hands-on experience will allow you to understand how children behave and interact with one another while at the same time learning more about childcare responsibilities.

By taking these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in early childhood education.

How Do I Obtain an Interview for Jobs in Daycare Near me?

The best way to obtain an interview for a job in daycare near me is by showing an employer that you are well-qualified and professional.  You can do this by being sure to follow up on application and resume submissions.  Employers are usually more likely to invite a candidate in for an interview if they take initiative to show they really want the role, so don’t be afraid to cal and check in!

Attend daycare events and through daycare groups on social media, and you may find more “jobs in daycare near me” opportunities that may not be listed online.

Reach out to contacts you may already have that work in the childcare industry; ask them questions about the industry, best practices, and job opportunities.  While you may come up empty handed for an interview, you can still learn valuable lessons and skills from others who have walked this path before you.

Lastly, be sure to check out the daycare position listings on Child Care Aware of Missouri’s website are fully vetted and for reputable daycare positions in the state.

Crafting Your Resume for Daycare Positions

Once you’ve researched and identified a few jobs you are interested in, the next step is to create an effective resume and cover letter. An excellent first impression never goes unnoticed.

You’ll need to create a resume or portfolio that showcases your skills and experience in working with children or managing childcare programs.  With so many different methods for setting up a resume, what should you include in yours?

Child Care Aware offers in-depth guidance on creating your resume and cover letter for your desired daycare positions, but here is a brief overview of the most important pieces to include on your resume.

Your resume acts as a short snapshot of your career that you’ll use as a tool to get you through the initial application process and into the first round of interviews. Be sure to include keywords and phrases in case your resume is run through an Applicant Tracking System, and ensure you appropriately articulate your value as a candidate.

When creating your resume, you should tailor it to each job application for each potential role.  Customizing your application in this way means focusing on your skills and accomplishments rather than your personality.

For jobs in daycare near me, emphasize the skills you have that would be most valuable in a childcare setting.  These could include experience working with children of different ages, First Aid and CPR certification, or managing a childcare program.  Make sure you highlight any relevant childcare experience, such as volunteer work or previous jobs related to childcare, certifications, or courses taken. It should also include information about your education, such as any degrees or certificates related to childcare.

You should provide references from previous jobs and a list of activities that demonstrate leadership and communication skills. If you have any awards or accolades related to your previous daycare positions, list them on your resume.

In short, highlight anything that shows you would be an excellent choice for the daycare position you are applying for.

After sending in your resume and cover letter, the next step is to prepare for the interview. Research the daycare center again, even if you have previously done so.  This will ensure  that you can ask relevant questions about the organization during the interview.

Steps to Take if You’re Chosen for an Interview for a Daycare Position

If you are selected for an interview for a job in daycare near me, it is important to be prepared. Have a positive attitude and come ready to discuss how your skills and qualifications make you the perfect candidate for the daycare position.

Research the daycare facility beforehand so that you understand their values, mission, and day-to-day operations. It is also important to come prepared with questions, so that you can get a better idea of the daycare position and if it’s right for you.

In addition to coming up with any questions you may have, be sure you practice your answers to common daycare interview questions and think of ways to highlight your skills. Be sure you dress professionally and arrive at least 10 minutes early for the interview.

Once the interview is complete, be sure to follow up with a thank you note expressing your appreciation. This will show off your professionalism and help set you apart from other candidates.

Finding “Jobs in Daycare near me” is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Start by conducting a general search online for daycare positions in Missouri. This search can include job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor, daycare-specific websites, or contacting local daycare centers directly.
  2. If you are already working in the daycare industry, check with your local Department of Family Services or network with other daycare providers in your community for any available positions.
  3. Finally, utilize all available resources, including online job boards, daycare-specific websites, and the Department of Family Services, and create a compelling and complete resume. Then begin applying for daycare positions!

We hope that following this guide should make your hunt for daycare positions straightforward and enjoyable.  Our aim is to help early childhood educators and families to ensure the safety, education, and growth of Missouri’s children.

If you need further help finding a daycare position that suits your needs, please reach out to the staff at Child Care Aware of Missouri, where we’re happy to help you every step of the way as you embark on or continue your early childhood education career!

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential?

how long does it take to get a cda credential

A Child Care Development Associate Credential (or CDA) is awarded by a national organization called the Council for Professional Recognition sponsors.  This prestigious certification is recognized worldwide, and proves you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be a successful early childhood care provider.

One of the biggest questions for those seeking this certificate is, “How long does it take to get a CDA credential?”, and for good reason.

As an adult, the thought of going back to a fulltime schooling program, on top of your job and other responsibilities can seem like an overwhelming task, however, it doesn’t need to be!

The short answer to “how long does it take to get a CDA credential?” is that a CDA is accepted as the equivalent of 12 months (or 480 hours) of teaching experience in an early childhood education setting, plus six college semester hours in child-related courses.

The long answer is a bit more complex, and that’s what we will be discussing in this article.

We will dive into what factors can affect the answer to “how long does it take to get a CDA credential?”, such as scheduling, taking your exam, and preparing for your exam, so that you can find the quickest, most straightforward path to receiving your certification.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential?  –  Your First Steps

Before you start the process for receiving your CDA, there are some pre-requisites you should be familiar with.  Firstly, your training depends on which track you’re choosing, these include:

  • Center-Based Preschool
  • Center-Based Infant-Toddler
  • Family Child Care
  • Home Visitor

No matter which track you choose, it will cover eight different areas of education that you must be acutely familiar with before applying for your CDA.

These include:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment for the children
  • Advancing the children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting the social and emotional development of the children
  • Building productive relationships with the children’s families
  • Managing an effective program operation.
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior.
  • Understanding the principles of child development and learning.

While slight variations exist between the chosen programs, the answer to “how long does it take to get a CDA certificate?” remains about the same in most instances.

Prerequisites for your exam include a high school diploma, GED, or upperclassman status in high school.  Additionally, as previously discussed 480 teaching hours, plus six college semester hours in early-childhood education related courses.

Finally, those aspiring to receive their CDA must complete the family questionnaires and portfolio on the CDA website.

You can locate step-by-step information on the Child Care Aware of Missouri website which will help you with completing your questionnaires and your CDA portfolio.

Depending on how quickly you can prepare for and pass your exam, earning your CDA credential could take anywhere from a few months to a year or more, however, this time investment is often worth it in the long run, as a CDA credential can help you gain greater recognition and credibility as an early childhood educator.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential? – Potential Causes of Delay

One potential reason it could take you longer to get your CDA credential than the average is due to the number of required hours of professional development (PD) you require for credentialing in Missouri.

To qualify for the CDA credential, candidates must complete at least 120 hours of professional development.  While there are several ways to meet this requirement, many candidates choose to attend workshops and training sessions offered by the Council for Professional Recognition.

These workshops can be located all over the country but may require travel and time away from work or home.  These will also help you in maintaining your CDA credentialing after passing your CDA exam.

Another reason why your question “How long does it take to get a CDA credential?” may be longer than the average length of time to receive a CDA credential in Missouri is due to the state’s process for approving early childhood educator (ECE) programs.

Currently, there is only one program that has been approved by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This means that aspiring CDA holders in Missouri may have to wait until additional programs are approved before they can begin their coursework.

A final reason as to why the answer to “How long does it take to get a CDA credential?” could be longer than expected in Missouri is because of the state’s stringent requirements for teacher certification.  To become a CDA holder in Missouri, candidates must also be certified teachers. This process can take time and includes meeting a variety of requirements such as passing a licensing exam and completing a preparation program.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential – Obtaining the Necessary Training Hours

Whether you are just starting out on your path to earning your CDA credential, or you are already well on your way and looking for additional resources to help you achieve this goal, there are many options available to help make the process as streamlined and efficient as possible.

If you are ready to take the next step towards becoming a highly qualified child care provider, be sure to do your research and find the right program for your unique needs and goals.  Even though program lengths tend to remain about the same, each has it’s own unique caveats, and you should familiarize yourself with them prior to scheduling your examination.

For example, some individuals choose to pursue an online CDA training program, while others choose to enroll in longer-term on-site or in-person courses. Additionally, you may be able to earn some of your required hours through volunteer work or professional development workshops offered by local child care centers.

Other ways to obtain your necessary training hours include taking online courses, participating in workshops and conferences, and working with experienced educators who can provide guidance and support. Also, by staying up to date on the latest research and trends in early childhood education can help ensure that you are able to maintain your CDA credential over time.

Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll need to submit your application to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  The application should include your fee and documentation of your training.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential? Scheduling, Sitting, and Passing Your Exam

Once your application is approved, you’ll be able to take the CDA exam.  The exam has two parts: a written portion and an oral portion.  You must pass both parts to earn your credential.

Depending on how many candidates there are in your area, it may take several weeks or months before you receive confirmation of a testing date, so you should prepare yourself for the potentially scheduling delay and proceed accordingly.

Once your test appointment has been confirmed, you will need to prepare for your exam by reviewing the CDA competency standards and exam content outlines.

These materials provide important information about how the questions on the exam are structured, and how your answers will be evaluated.  In addition to studying these materials, you should also make sure that you arrive at least 30 minutes early on the day of the exam.

This will give you time to check in with the testing site staff, familiarize yourself with how to use any testing equipment or technology that is being used, and ensure that everything is in order before your scheduled start time.

Remember, the CDA credentialing exam is prestigious for a reason.  If you do not pass your exam on the first go, it’s important to remember that many people before you have had the same thing happen but have gone on to receive their credentialing after trying again.  It’s important not to lose hope, and to keep your end goal in your focus.

After you’ve passed the exam, you’ll receive your CDA credential in the mail.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDA Credential? – What Happens After Passing Your Exam

After you have sat, and successfully passed your CDA examination, your question of “How long does it take to get a CDA credential” has for the most part, been answered, congratulations!

However, there is some wiggle room in the definition of “CDA certified.”

Some people may view CDA certification as a matter of simply passing the credentialing exam, while others may see it as a more holistic process that also includes completing training and professional development activities.

In general, however, it is generally accepted that those who pass their CDA credentialing exams have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to work in early childhood education settings. As such, earning your CDA credential can be an important step toward building a successful career in this field.

How Long Does it Take to Get a CDA Credential? – Maintaining Your Credentialing

To maintain your CDA credential after passing your exam, it is important to continuously invest in your professional development. This may include enrolling in ongoing training programs or workshops, participating in professional networking groups, and keeping up with the latest research and trends in early childhood education.

Additionally, you may need to submit an annual renewal application or pass specific skill assessments as part of your ongoing certification requirements.

Whatever approach you take, staying up to date on best practices and continuing to grow as a professional will help ensure that you remain a valuable asset to any early childhood education setting.

How Long Does it Take to Get a CDA Credential? – Is it Worth the Time and Investment?

It can take anywhere from several months to a year or more to obtain your CDA credential, depending on how quickly you are able to complete the various requirements.

This may include enrolling in relevant training programs, sitting for and passing the CDA exam, participating in professional networking activities, and demonstrating continued commitment to professional growth and development.  That said, investing time and effort into earning your CDA credential is going to be worth it in the long run.  Not only does it help demonstrate your expertise as an early childhood educator, but it can also open new opportunities for advancement and higher salaries in this field.

Additionally, having a CDA credential often makes you more attractive as a job candidate, which can give you an edge over other candidates in a competitive job market. Overall, earning your CDA credential, despite how long it can take, is an important step toward building a successful career in early childhood education.

So, if you’re asking yourself currently, “how long does it take to get a CDA credential?” you may want to instead ask yourself, “Will the time I spend earning this credential benefit me, my students, and my community?”  That question will likely lead you to a more personalized answer on if sitting going through the process of CDA credentialing is for you or not.

If the answer to “how long does it take to get a CDA credential” seems a bit intimidating, remind yourself that if this is your life’s work, you’ll be going through the necessary trainings anyway, why not put them towards moving your career forward to the next level while at the same time bettering the guidance and teaching you can deliver to your students?

If you have more questions about sitting your CDA credentialing exam, or still want to ask more about “how long does it take to get a CDA credential?” the team at Child Care Aware of Missouri are here to assist you.  Feel free to reach out to us with any question, and we will happily point you in the right direction to get you started on your path to CDA credentialing.

The Complete Guide to Starting a Daycare in Missouri

starting a daycare in missouri

Starting a daycare center in Missouri can be a daunting task, but Child Care Aware of Missouri is here to help!

Before starting your new venture, you should take appropriate steps to ensure that starting a daycare in Missouri is the right career path, such as taking our free self-assessment.

You can also find more information on the types of child care you can offer by visiting our website.

After completing the prerequisite steps, you’ll be ready to start building out your business plan.

Since starting a daycare in Missouri can prove to be so challenging, we are going to walk you through the entire process of how you can receive your daycare license in Missouri.

Receiving your daycare license in Missouri comes with multiple requirements, such as providing a safe environment for the children and ensuring that all staff receives adequate training.

From applying for your daycare license in Missouri, all the way through to welcoming your children on their first day of class, we will help provide the information you need to make starting your daycare in Missouri a less challenging, more rewarding task!

Determining if You Require a Daycare License in Missouri

Before you begin the entire licensure process, you should check to ensure you even require a daycare license in Missouri for your business.

You will need to obtain a license if you want to operate a daycare center that provides care for more than five children under seven years of age.

If you plan on providing care for fewer than six children, you may be able to do so without a license. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and obtain a license if you’re unsure.

Your First Steps in Starting a Daycare in Missouri

When starting a daycare center in Missouri, it is essential to research the licensing process and other factors to consider from a business perspective before you start.

The first two steps you should take are taking your child care center needs assessment and researching the requirements for a daycare license in Missouri.

Completing these two tasks will help you understand better what your community needs and how you can ensure that starting a daycare in Missouri is a profitable venture for you.

Child Care Center Needs Assessment

It’s highly advisable that before starting a daycare in Missouri, you take a child care needs assessment quiz.

Your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency can assist you with much of this information.

Researching Your Daycare License in Missouri – Your Local CCR&R Agency

Finding your local CCR&R agency (Child Care Resource and Referral Agency) should be another first-stop resource you should familiarize yourself with when starting a daycare in Missouri.

Your Child Care Resource and Referral agency will help enhance the quality of your program through training, coaching, and connecting you with more resources that can help assist your daycare center.

Additionally, your local licensing agency can help you understand the rules and regulations you must follow when starting a daycare in Missouri.

What Background Checks Will I Require When Starting a Daycare in Missouri?

All employees that work at a licensed, license-exempt, regulated, and registered child care provider must all have criminal background checks conducted per new federal law.

This law affects not only the staff working directly with the children but also any staff working in the building, such as bus drivers, chefs, and sanitary professionals.

Again, your local CCR&R can help update you on where your state is with the implementation of this law.

When calling your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, utilize this free licensing and background checks resource from Child Care Aware of America that will outline the steps you need to follow to obtain a background check for you and your employees.

Preparing a Budget for Starting a Daycare in Missouri

After you have researched and understood all the legal, tax, insurance, licensing, and background check information, it’s time to begin taking actionable steps toward building the business you plan to run with your daycare license in Missouri.

Preparing a budget helps you see the large picture of whether your projected income will exceed your expected expenses.

Things you will need to consider are:

  • How many children you plan to serve
  • Tuition fees
  • Staffing costs
  • Start-up costs such as application fees
  • Equipment
  • Materials
  • Marketing

These are just a few crucial topics you should carefully consider while preparing your budget before starting your daycare in Missouri.

Child Care Aware provides a budgeting worksheet to help determine how much income you predict versus how much you plan on spending.

Your business plan helps you define how much money you will need when starting your daycare in Missouri.

Securing Funding After Receiving Your Daycare License in Missouri

One of the most significant challenges for new daycare owners is securing funding for their center.

There are many ways to fund a daycare, such as through private investors, government grants, or bank loans.

Exploring all your options and finding the funding method best suits your needs is essential.

Check with your local CCR&R Agency for ideas on possible funding opportunities for your business.

Some of the most common funding sources for child care include:

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a reimbursement program that allows qualified child care providers reimbursement for a portion of their child care food costs.

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a federally funded state grant to support child care subsidies.  Check our State by State Resources Map, which will connect you to your local program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA offers various information on small business loans, grants, and other funding opportunities.

Find a Location for Your Child Care Center

After determining there is a need in your area for quality child care, consider finding a location for your facility.

Ensure you check with your state licensing office to learn more about the specific requirements in your area before you start your search for a location.

You will need to check local zoning laws and covenants to ensure you follow local laws before buying, renting, or building a space for your childcare business.

Please be advised that if you buy a franchise, the parent company may have additional specific guidelines regarding where you can operate your childcare business.

Developing Policies and Procedures for Your Daycare Center

Outlining the policies and procedures of your daycare in Missouri for employees and families is your next step on starting a daycare in Missouri.

It’s important to have policies and procedures which reflect the Code of Ethical Conduct for the early childhood field.

You should be careful to include specific topics designed to help your business run smoothly, in addition to any other state required policies for families.  Your local CCR&R or state licensing agency will be able to assist you with what you will need to include.

Creating a Family Handbook

A family handbook is a document that includes all your daycare center’s policies and procedures, as well as other important information for families.

Be sure to encourage families to read through the handbook and contact you with any questions they may have.

  • Common things to include in your family handbook are:
  • Mission and philosophy of your program
  • Description of your program, including operating hours and ages of children served
  • Information on whether your program is a part of your state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  • Information on when payments are due and your policy for late payments
  • Description of curriculum and daily schedule for children
  • Description of family involvement activities
  • Required forms for families to complete, such as registration forms, guidance and discipline, drop-off and pick-up procedures, emergency closings, fee and payment arrangements, food and nutrition, program closings, and transportation policies.
  • Description of disaster and emergency plans.

Creating a Staff Handbook

Much like your family handbook, your staff handbook will outline the expectations of employees, as well as your mission, philosophy, family communication and involvement, and much more.

Additionally, your daycare center’s staff handbook should include a section on receiving your early childhood education or daycare license in Missouri, behavior and guidance policies, benefits and pay scale, job descriptions, evaluation procedures, and hiring and firing procedures.

Hiring Qualified Staff

Hiring qualified staff is one of the most important aspects of starting a daycare in Missouri.

In Missouri, all daycare center employees must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Additionally, all employees must undergo a background check and complete 16 hours of child development training within their first year of employment.

1. Define Your Needs

Before you start the hiring process, it is important to take some time to define your needs. What type of staff do you need? What qualifications should they have? Do you prefer they have a daycare license in Missouri? What hours will they need to work? Answering these questions will help you create a job posting that attracts suitable candidates.

2. Create a Job Posting

Once you know what type of staff you need, you can create a job posting. Include all relevant information, such as the job title, job description, qualifications, and hours. Be sure to list where the candidates can apply and how to contact you with any questions.

3. Review Applications

Once you start receiving applications, take some time to review them.  Look for candidates who meet the qualifications that you have set forth.  You may also want to consider candidates who have experience working with children, have taken early childhood education classes, or have a daycare license in Missouri.

4. Interview Candidates

After reviewing the applications, narrow down your list of candidates and set up interviews.  The interview process is an opportunity for you to get to know the candidates and for them to ask any questions they may have about the position.  It is also an excellent opportunity to assess their qualifications and see if they would be a good fit for your daycare center.

5. Conduct Background Checks

Before making any offers, be sure to conduct background checks on all interviewed candidates.  Performing a background check will help you ensure that they are qualified for the position and have no criminal history that could pose a danger to the children in your care.

6. Make Your Offers

Once you have conducted the necessary background checks, you can make your offers to the candidates you would like to hire.  Go over the position details with them, so there are no surprises later on down the road.

7. Welcome Them to The Team!

After all the paperwork has been signed, and everything is final, it’s time to welcome your new employees to the team officially!  Be sure to introduce them so that everyone knows who they are and their role at the daycare center.  Congratulate them on their new position and let them know that you’re looking forward to working with them!

Creating a Safe and Stimulating Environment

The final task when starting a daycare is creating a safe and stimulating environment for the children.

This includes designing age-appropriate activities for the children and ensuring that the classroom is safe and child-friendly.

It is important to make sure that the classroom is fun and engaging so that the children will enjoy spending time there.

In Conclusion

Receiving your daycare license in Missouri can be a challenging but rewarding experience.

There are many things to consider when starting a daycare in Missouri, such as the licensing process, finding a location, securing funding, and hiring qualified staff.

It is important to do your research and make sure that you meet all the requirements to avoid any potential problems, but also to remember that Child Care Aware of Missouri and your local CCR&R agency are with you every step of the way.

With hard work and a bit of planning, you can attain your goals of starting a successful daycare center in Missouri.

Attaining Daycare Center Grants in Missouri

Are you a parent, teacher, or daycare center owner looking to receive a grant for daycare in Missouri?

Are you looking to apply for daycare center grants but aren’t sure where to start?

Not to worry!  Child Care Aware of Missouri is here to get you on the right track to obtaining the daycare center grant you need so your children can get the best education possible from an early age.

Applying for and receiving daycare center grants can be a confusing, and oftentimes daunting task. We aim to help you to understand the ins and outs of what receiving grants for daycare entails, in the hopes that you will be more likely to try to receive assistance for you and your family, if it’s needed.

Whether you are a parent, guardian, or an educator looking for more information on how daycare center grants work, this article will guide you through the steps necessary to receive grants for daycare in Missouri through the CCDBG and CCDF.

Daycare Center Grants – Explaining the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act and the Child Care Development Fund

Daycare center grants are funds set aside by the government to help owners of daycare centers pay for the costs associated with running their businesses.

One of the main grants for daycare opportunities in Missouri is the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which is a law which authorizes the Child Care and Development Fund program.

To put it simply, The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) is the law, and the Child Care and Development Fund is the program.

CCDF is administered by states territories and tribes, and outlines how federal funds will be used to provide financial assistance to low-income families for them to access child care at an affordable rate.

States also use CCDF to invest in improving the quality of the teacher workforce and supporting child care programs to achieve higher standards in early childhood education.

CCDF also provides consumer education to parents regarding grants for daycare and the childcare that will fit their child’s needs.

How are Daycare Center Grant Funds Allocated?

In 2016, it was decided that states and territories would be required to outline how they planned to use Child Care and Development Fund money to support child care policies and provide daycare center grants.

States can submit a three-year state plan to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

These three-year state plans act as an official application for federal CCDBG funds, outline how states will remain in compliance will all rules and regulations under federal law, and serve as a guide document for longer-term planning, as well as a vehicle for data collection.

It is the development of this plan that gives parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers an opportunity for collaborating and brainstorming together on how best to utilize the daycare center grant money allocated to them federally.  It is this money which will provide for teacher education, grants for daycare, and other initiatives to better their school systems.

Key Sections of the CCDF State Plan Form for Daycare Center Grants

State plans for the allocation of daycare center grants and other federally applicable funds are divided into eight sections that contain various subparts.

Instead of looking at these sections as separate entities, it is recommended that they are looked at as smaller parts of a whole, larger, integrated plan on how to best allocate grants for daycare and other federal funds.

Section 1: Define Leadership and Coordination

This section is where states must identify the logistics of planning and carrying out the CCDF program.

This section will also ask which stakeholders were consulted to create the plan, and the identification of how the maintenance of effort funds are being used.

Plans must include how public-private partnerships are encouraging coordination efforts between Child Care Resource and Referral agencies as well as a description on disaster preparedness efforts.

Section 2: Promote Family Outreach and Consumer Education

States must outline how they will provide outreach to families eligible for grants for daycare, as well as how they plan to assist those families in accessing the high-quality care they deserve.

This section will also outline other financial assistance programs and daycare center grants that families may apply for.

It is here where states will also supply best practices on children’s development and resources on developmental screenings for children.

Section 3: Provide Stable Financial Assistance to Families

States must identify eligibility criteria for daycare center grants, and other child care assistance subsidies and how they plan to increase access for vulnerable children and families, such as those with disabilities or who are currently homeless.

States have quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to establishing a range of policies. These policies include:

  • Family income thresholds to receive daycare center grants
  • Defining what a family unit is regarding receiving grants for daycare.
  • Qualifying activities for eligibility (such as minimum work hours)
  • Maximum age limits for daycare center grants
  • Family contribution payments or copays due when eligible for grants for daycare.

Section 4: Ensure Equal Access for Low-Income Children

Plans must outline strategies which will be implemented to improve and increase the supply of quality child care services in underserved areas. These plans should also promote parents having a choice in their child’s education and ensure equal access to programs comparable to those of non-CCDF families, with the aid of grants for daycare.

This section will also outline provider pay rates which enable them to meet health, safety, quality, and staffing requirements as outlined under CCDF.

Section 5: Establish Health and Safety Standards and Monitoring

States are required to certify that there are health and safety standards, training, and protocols in place that are appropriate for the provider setting and the age of the children being served.

States must address standards for background checks, child-to-staff ratios, group sizes, and required qualifications and trainings for all child care staff.

Section 6: Recruit and Retain Qualified, Effective Childhood Education Workforce

State plans must describe the training, professional development, and post-secondary education requirements for staff.

Plans must include how the state will strengthen provider business skills that will help expand supply and improve the quality of early learning and development programs.

Section 7: Support Continuous Quality Improvements

Reporting on quality improvement activities and findings that are part of statewide needs assessments is required.

In addition to outlining the quality improvement activities that are in place, states must report on whether they have adopted a quality rating and improvement system in addition to any financial incentives or daycare center grants they offer to improve the quality and supply of infant and toddler care.

Section 8: Ensure Program Integrity and Accountability

In the final section, states must describe which effective internal controls are in place to ensure accountability and integrity while maintaining continuous service. This includes the ways the state plans to address reducing fraud, waste, and abuse, including program violations and administrative errors.

The entire application for CCDF funds for daycare center grants, school enrichment, and the support of low-income families attaining high-quality childcare can be found here.

Eligibility Requirements as per the CCDF Application to Receive Daycare Center Grant Opportunities

Section 3 of the document that we have outlined throughout this article discusses the eligibility criteria of families seeking out grants for daycare or other childcare assistance.

The eligibility for children and families for the year of 2022-2023 to receive grants for daycare are as follows:

  • Children must be younger than the age of 13
  • Children must reside with a family whose income is less than 85% of the state median income for a family of the same size
  • Family’s assets must not exceed $1,000,000
  • Children must reside with parent or caregivers who are attending job training or are employed.
  • Are a child requiring protective services and resides with parents not described in this section.

These are the basic requirements set by the federal government, but the state or territory does have some room for slight customizations.

Family Contributions to Payments in Conjunction with Grants for Daycare

Even if a family is eligible for a daycare center grant, they may still have some type of payment contribution or copay due to their annual earnings.

This copay that is due in addition to the daycare center grant payment varies based on the size and income of the family, with each family’s contribution calculated to ensure it is not a barrier to those children receiving CCDF daycare center grants.

To help families transition off child care assistance, co-pay amounts may be gradually adjusted for families determined to be eligible under a graduated phase-out of receiving grants for daycare.

Access to Daycare Center Grants for Children with Special Needs

Special priority is given for daycare center grants to children with special needs, in families with extremely low-incomes, or who are experiencing homelessness.

The prioritization of CCDF grants for daycare is not limited to eligibility determination. Other ways to give priority can include the establishment of a waiting list or the ranking of eligible family’s priority order to be served.

Other Important Points to Note About Receiving Grants for Daycare through the CCDF

Though these rules and regulations may seem stringent, there are checks and balances put in place to ensure the continuity of financial assistance going to families in need.

For working families, regardless of changes in income, your CCDF daycare center grants may not be terminated during the minimum 12-month period if a family has an increase in income that exceeds the states income eligibility threshold, but not the federal threshold of 85% of the state’s median income.

Also, financial assistance with daycare center grants may not be terminated prior to the end of the minimum 12-month period if the family experiences a temporary job loss or change in participation in training or educational activity. It is also noted that a temporary change cannot have a set time limit, for example, 60 days.

If Discontinuation of CCDF Funds Does Occur – What You’re Entitled to, and How to Reclaim Your Grants for Daycare

While the option is there for the state to discontinue assistance from a non-temporary loss of work or cessation of attendance at a job training or educational program (also known as the parent’s “eligible activity”) but is not required to discontinue the grants for daycare.

If the decision is made to discontinue to financial assistance, it is required that the family continue to receive the help they were getting at the same level for a period of no less than 3 months after said loss.

This three-month period allows the parent or guardian to engage in a job search and to resume work or attendance in job training or their educational program.

At the end of the minimum 3-month period of continued assistance, if the parent has engaged in a qualifying work, training, or educational program activity with an income below 85% of the state median income, assistance cannot be terminated.

In this situation, the child must continue receiving their daycare center grant assistance until the next scheduled redetermination, or for another 12-month eligibility period.

Receiving Daycare Center Grants and Financial Assistance in Missouri

We hope that this outline of the CCDF daycare center grant program has helped you in understanding what the program is, how it works, and how you can be deemed eligible for a daycare center grant in Missouri.

Despite all the rules and regulations, these services are kept in place in order to help families receive the assistance they need to ensure their children get the high-quality education they deserve.

If you have questions that were not answered in this article, please feel free to contact the team at Child Care Aware of Missouri, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to speak to one of our knowledgeable representatives who will be able to point you in the right direction.

The Complete Guide to Your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship

childcare cda

The childcare CDA (Childhood Development Associate) credential is nationally recognized and your first formal step in early childhood education.

Accomplishing your child care CDA will open doors in your early childhood education career that were not previously available. Additionally, your child care CDA will help you grow as an educator in the specific child care setting in which you have chosen to work.

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Missouri Scholarship is a scholarship and compensation opportunity for educators in licensed centers, groups, and family child care programs.

The recently created CDA T.E.A.C.H. scholarship model is designed specifically for those looking to achieve further education in early childhood education.

The CDA T.E.A.C.H. scholarship comes with added requirements in addition to those set forth for our Early Childhood Missouri Scholarship because it is geared specifically for those looking to reach their child care CDA.   We will discuss the requirements and how you can achieve them with the help of the teams at T.E.A.C.H. Missouri and Child Care Aware of Missouri.

The four components of the CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Program are:

  • Scholarship – A contract between the recipient, sponsor, and T.E.A.C.H. Missouri. Each party is responsible for a paid percentage of the cost of tuition and books.
  • Education – Contract year covers 9 to 15 credit hours over three consecutive semesters.
  • Compensation – Recipients receive a $450 bonus from T.E.A.C.H. Missouri for each completed contract. Several scholarship models include a possible $200 bonus match or a 2% raise from the sponsoring employer.
  • Commitment – Recipients agree to complete 6 to 12 months of continuous service to the children at their sponsoring program or in the child care field after the academic year (varies by scholarship model).

We will lay out everything you need to know to apply for your CDA T.E.A.C.H. scholarship, so you can start your path to attaining your childcare CDA.

Benefits of Earning Your Child Care CDA

Earning an education helps you to become a better teacher and assists in advancing your career, as we have already mentioned. Part of this is because families have a greater sense of ease with child care educators who have their early childhood education.

Years of experience speak for themselves but being able to say you have received your child care CDA is an added benefit in the eyes of parents and caregivers.

By receiving your child care CDA, you appear more valuable to a broader range of employers and increase your confidence, empowering you both personally and professionally.

Earning an Early Childhood Education will help you to meet specific job requirements since you will understand the application of new knowledge and skills you had not previously understood.

Some of the benefits of attaining an early child hood education and receiving your child care CDA are:

  • Personal and Professional empowerment and confidence.
  • Meeting the job requirements for more roles, giving you more job opportunities.
  • Reinforce to you the commitment you made to early childhood education.
  • Increase your confidence in learning, and then teaching, new skills.
  • Assist in showcasing early childhood best practices for other child care educators.

Receiving your child care CDA is valuable because it can advance your career, help you feel more confident and competent in your role, and give you the tools to better assist in shaping the next generation through your work.

The CDA T.E.A.C.H scholarship can help you realize all the possibilities that an early childhood education can bring you, and it’s something that, once attained, will always be with you.

What are the goals of the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Scholarship Program?

The T.E.A.C.H. Missouri CDA Scholarship program aims to improve the quality of childhood care and education by increasing the education level of early childhood educators.

By increasing the education level of childhood educators, their compensation rate also increases, increasing the overall retention rate of early childhood educators.

This increase in retention, and overall happiness of teachers, work to improve the quality and continuity of care provided to children and families in Missouri.

The CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program also seeks to be an independent example of how working together can benefit the majority through the partnerships that must come together to realize the scholarship opportunity itself.

CDA T.E.A.C.H Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

To attain your child care CDA, you must first become eligible for the CDA T.E.A.C.H. scholarship. If you are not yet qualified, you can begin to take the appropriate steps to become eligible by understanding the eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri child care CDA Scholarship, you must:

  • Work in a licensed child care program in Missouri.
  • Work in a child care program registered to accept child care subsidies.
  • Work directly with children birth to five-years-old.
  • Work at least 25 hours per week.
  • Have worked at the child care program for at least three consecutive months.
  • Make less than $20 per hour as an educator or $25 per hour as a director or owner.
  • Want to earn a CDA in an infant/toddler, preschool, or family child care setting.

Your eligibility is also contingent upon your sponsoring employer’s participation.

The scholarship is a partnership between the recipient, sponsoring employer, and T.E.A.C.H. Missouri.

Each partner has designated financial and service responsibilities.

That said, if you are the owner of a family child care home or center, you are eligible to act as your own sponsor, if your facility participates in the CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Program.

CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Waitlist Information

T.E.A.C.H. Missouri operates on a continuous waitlist. To be placed on the waiting list, you must complete the appropriate application packet listed in this article, which you can find on the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Website.

Once your application is complete, you can submit it via fax, email, or postage-paid mail, to the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri office.

After receipt, T.E.A.C.H. Missouri will add all appropriately completed application packets to our waiting list.

Potential child care CDA Scholarship recipients on the wait list are called a month and a half before the start of each semester.

Scholarships are awarded based on funding availability.

If you are placed on the waitlist and did not receive a scholarship in the previous semester, you will be left on the waitlist for 12 consecutive months.

If you applied over 12 months ago, you must complete and submit a new application.

Applying for Your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship with Credit Hours

If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you will need to navigate to the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Website to begin your child care CDA scholarship application if you plan to use credit hours toward your scholarship requirements.

Once on the CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship page, you will find three links at the very bottom.

There are three separate applications for the child care CDA Scholarship. You will choose the appropriate application based on your current child care job facility setting and your current role.

Your three scholarship application options are:

Child Care CDA Scholarship for Teacher and Director Packet

Child Care CDA Scholarship for Family Child Care Owner Packet

CDA Scholarship for Center Owner Packet

Please also note that all courses for this CDA Childcare Scholarship model are only approvable from a Missouri 2-year college found in the T.E.A.C.H. college directory.

If you’re looking to apply to the CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program with credit hours, not to worry! Your childcare CDA specialist will convert those to usable clock hours for you, which we will discuss in a moment.

What Happens After Your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Has Been Awarded

Once you have been awarded your CDA T.E.A.C.H scholarship, you are on your way to attaining your childcare CDA, and now you will have assistance.

With a CDA T.E.A.C.H scholarship, you will:

  • Be assigned a T.E.A.C.H. Missouri CDA scholarship counselor who will assist you as you move through the entire CDA process.
  • Enroll in the Missouri community college of your choosing, earn 9 to 12 early childhood college credit hours within three consecutive semesters, and successfully pass all classes.
  • Pay only 5% of the cost of your tuition and books. For example, for a $300 textbook, you’d only pay $15! Your sponsoring employer pays only 5% as well. Win-win.
  • Commit to staying at your sponsoring child care program for six months after the three semesters.

How T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Assists You in Reaching Your Childcare CDA

If you are awarded a CDA T.E.A.C.H. scholarship, you can expect that T.E.A.C.H. Missouri and Child Care Aware of Missouri will be with you every step of the way.

During your T.E.A.C.H. Missouri child care CDA contract, you will take 9 to 12 credit hours of early childhood education classes in the age group of your choice: infant/toddler, preschool, or family child care.

During this time, you and your sponsoring employer will only pay 5% of your books and tuition, while T.E.A.C.H. Missouri will cover 90% of your tuition and books in addition to all your college fees.

You also receive a bonus! At the end of your contract year, you will receive $190 and $190 more six months later if you stay with your sponsoring employer.

$380 in total for maintaining passing grades and continuing work at your place of employment!

The Child Care Aware of Missouri CDA Scholarship Project

The Child Care Aware of Missouri child care CDA Scholarship Project is what you will enroll in after completing your college credit hours.

At this point, your child care CDA Scholarship Counselor will continue assisting you as you complete the child care CDA process toward your credentialing process.

After enrolling in the child care CDA scholarship project, your CDA specialist will help you convert your college transcript into early childhood clock hours towards your child care CDA.

Suppose you still require assistance compiling your virtual child care CDA portfolio. In that case, the Child Care Aware of Missouri team will provide weekly technical assistance webinars to help you create your portfolio.

Once you’re ready to apply for your CDA, Child Care Aware of Missouri pays your $425 child care CDA application fee and submits it to the Council for Professional Recognition.

Even after your application has been submitted, your CDA specialist is still with you! Your CDA specialist will walk you through what to expect during classroom observations, verification visits, and testing.

You also get rewarded again! In addition to the $380 bonus, we spoke about earlier in the article, as a bonus for earning your childcare CDA credential, Child Care Aware of Missouri will refund you and your sponsoring employer’s 5% of the tuition and book costs had paid initially.

That’s right. You earn college credit hours and achieve your child care CDA – at no cost!

Are you interested in continuing your college education further? You can also apply for a T.E.A.C.H Missouri associate degree scholarship after successfully completing your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship.

Wrapping Up – Receiving Your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Project and Child Care CDA

We have covered it all in this article, from why earning your CDA is so essential to how T.E.A.C.H. Missouri and Child Care Aware of Missouri come together to help you finance and complete your CDA, as well as what happens after you achieve your child care CDA.

The benefits of earning your CDA are far-reaching and can benefit your life and the lives of the children you teach and their families. We encourage you to further your education and enroll for your CDA T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship to help get you there. If followed correctly, you will walk away from experience with college credits, a greater understanding of your work, and a certification that will open new doors in your career.

If you have more questions or require further information on any part of this article, you can reach out to Child Care Aware of Missouri,  and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

CDA Child Care Assistance for Future Child Development Associates

cda child care assistance

The decision to begin preparing to obtain your CDA Child care certification can be a massive undertaking.  Locating CDA Child care assistance to help you learn what you’ll need to know, explain the process, and help with the cost can add to the stress.  

Child Care Aware of Missouri encourages the childcare educators of tomorrow to obtain CDA child care certification, as it is a nationally recognized credential and one of the first formal steps in a career in early childhood education.  

Since obtaining your CDA child care certification comprises multiple steps, including an exam, an observation, and a professional portfolio, Child Care Aware of Missouri provides CDA child care assistance for future childcare development associates.  

We have compiled this resource to help you during the process and to “lighten the load” completing your CDA certification.  We will dive into what is involved in the CDA Scholarship Project, how to apply, and what other criteria are required to obtain your CDA child care certification. 

Why Obtain Your CDA Child Care Certification? 

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential is nationally recognized as a professional credential administered by the Council for Professional Recognition.  

The CDA is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a vital piece of the puzzle when attempting to advance your career in ECE.  

The CDA is based on a core set of competency standards that help guide child care professionals as they work toward becoming a teacher of young children.  

CDAs understand how to put CDA Competency Standards into practice while also understanding the “why” of how those standards can help children successfully move from one developmental stage to another.  

Earning your CDA enhances and advances your career and comes with many benefits, such as increasing your confidence, providing a more comprehensive range of employment opportunities, and personally and professionally empowering you.

CDA Child Care Assistance for Your Application

The first step in obtaining your CDA child care certification is to determine eligibility and submit your application.  If you’re looking for CDA child care assistance from the CDA Scholarship Project, the first thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to earn your CDA child care certification through clock hours or college credit hours.  

Earning Your CDA Child Care Certification Through Clock Hours

To complete your CDA via clock hours, you must: 

  • Work in a licensed, license-exempt child care program or as a “six or fewer” provider.
  • Work in a child care program that accepts DSS Subsidy
  • Work a minimum of 15 hours per week at the child care program
  • Work at least one month at the child care program

If you fit these criteria, you can apply using clock hours by enrolling today through CCAMO. 

If you want to complete your CDA utilizing college credit hours, you must apply via T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Website.  You must meet the following criteria for eligibility into the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri CDA child care assistance scholarship program: 

  • Work in a licensed child care program in Missouri
  • Work in a child care program registered to accept child care subsidies. 
  • Work directly with children birth-5 years old. 
  • Work at least 25 hours per week. 
  • Worked at the child care program for at least three consecutive months.
  • Make less than $20/hour as an educator or $25/hour as a director or owner. 
  • Want to earn a CDA in an infant/toddler, preschool, or family child care setting. 

CDA Child care Assistance for Your Examination

The first step in obtaining your CDA child care certification is your exam.  This test has 65 multiple-choice questions taken on a computer at your local testing center. 

There are various options for attaining CDA child care assistance for your examination, such as courses and workshops. Still, we will discuss just a few things you should know to prepare for your CDA child care certification exam to get you started.

Top Three Things to be aware of for Your CDA Child Care Examination

  • Process of Elimination: Since the test has all multiple-choice questions, it’s beneficial to practice automatically eliminating any options that do not fit the scenario, leaving you with only answers that are potentially in the running.  Not only will this automatically help you feel more confident about each question, but it will also improve your chances of answering the question correctly.
  • How Questions Will be Asked: The questions on your CDA child care exam will mostly be situational. Situational questions mean that you must pick the answer selection that most closely matches how you would respond in a specific situation.  
  • Practice Tests: The only way to get accustomed to the types of questions on the exam is to study using practice tests.  Remember, practice tests are not the actual questions on your exam but are formatted to be very similar.  With most questions being situational, and all of the questions being multiple-choice, preparing with a practice test is an excellent idea. 

CDA Child Care Assistance for Your Observation

During your verification visit, the professional development (PD) specialist you have selected will come to your place of work for approximately 4 hours.  

Your professional development specialist is responsible for completing the CDA verification visit, reviewing your documentation, observing you as your work with the children, and conducting a reflective dialogue with you.  After their observation, they will electronically submit your scores to the Council. 

The PD specialist will spend the first hour reviewing your portfolio, followed by a 2-hour observation period of you in the classroom, ending with about an hour-long conversation going over the professional development specialist’s feedback. 

The most comforting part of the verification process is that you will know when your observation is taking place, allowing you to prepare for it ahead of time.  

Knowing when the verification meeting is means you can tailor your lesson plans to align with what your PD specialist is looking for.  

You can locate the information regarding what your PD specialist will consider in the back of your competency standards booklet.  

The PD specialist uses those exact pages to guide their observations, so don’t forget to check those pages and plan your day around what the specialist is planning to see. 

You can locate more information on CDA child care assistance for your verification visit and information on the rest of the application process by visiting the Council for Professional Recognition’s CDA FAQ page. 

Most importantly, try not to look at the PD specialist as someone you should be fear.  These specialists are here to give you CDA childcare assistance to help you become the best early childhood educator you can be, and you should try to view them as the wealth of knowledge they are.

CDA Child care Assistance for Your Portfolio

It’s critical to ensure that the portfolio element of your CDA application accurately reflects you and your teaching style.  It’s crucial to ensure your portfolio is accurate because it may not be possible to be in a room you’re familiar with for your observation. 

The switching of rooms creates a dilemma.  Part of your CDA application that the PD specialist considers is the environment – is it clean?  Are toys away?  Are books age-appropriate?  When you’re in a room that is not your own, it may be out of your control to change these things.  

Ensuring that your portfolio accurately represents how you manage, maintain, and run your classroom is vital to giving the PD specialist a well-rounded view of who you are as an early childhood educator.  An accurate portrayal of you as an educator will help them feel more confident in approving your CDA child care certification.  

When looking for CDA child care assistance in building your portfolio, Google can be a wealth of knowledge.  There are videos, courses, and other top content that will walk you through the intricacies of completing your CDA portfolio.

CDA Child care Assistance for Payment

In addition to needing assistance in completing the CDA child care certification process, from exam to your portfolio, Child Care Aware of Missouri also realizes the need for financial CDA child care assistance.  It’s for this reason that multiple scholarship opportunities are available for those hoping to obtain their CDA.  

Child Care Aware of Missouri CDA Project

Child Care Aware of Missouri CDA Project helps child care educators through the CDA credentialing process, pays the candidates’ application fee, and gives potential CDAs money for earning their CDA credential.  

Additionally, we provide help finding clock-hour workshops if the candidate finds themselves in need of training hours.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Missouri Scholarship Models

Child Care Aware of Missouri administers T.E.A.C.H. Missouri, which offers a CDA scholarship and Entry Associate Degree Scholarship.  Eligible candidates must be enrolled in an approved Missouri 2-year college.  

If the candidate meets this requirement, T.E.A.C.H. Missouri will pay 90% of tuition and books and 100% of qualifying college fees.  

Resources Round-up: Where to Look for Help in Obtaining Your CDA Child Care Certification 

When looking for further CDA child care assistance on your journey to becoming a CDA, the Council for Professional Recognition’s website can be an excellent source of help.  

There, you will find other programs, resources, and organizations offering CDA childcare assistance to prospective child development associates.

If you want further information on how to receive CDA child care assistance financially, look no further than Child Care Aware of Missouri’s website.  

Here we explain the differences between the different types of CDA’s and go into detail on how you can get more information on scholarships and funding. 

Lastly, we recommend the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri website for your research in attaining CDA child care assistance.  T.E.A.C.H. details on how to apply for your CDA child care certification, what the criteria are to enroll, and the steps you must take after acceptance to be granted your CDA child care certification. 

While it may be a bit confusing initially, after reading through the literature and websites recommended in this article, it should seem far more straightforward.  If you need further assistance deciding how to start your CDA, you can contact the ECE Council from Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7 pm EST.   

In Closing – Deciding to Go After Your CDA Child Care Certification

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely looking to enhance your early childhood education career and set yourself up for an abundant future in childhood education. In that case, there are many resources to give you the CDA child care assistance you require for your CDA child care certification. 

A CDA-certified early childhood educator is far more likely to excel in their career and, more importantly, become an educator who helps their students in the most effective ways possible. 

Additionally, your CDA will help to increase your confidence as a teacher, resulting in better outcomes. After completing your CDA credentialing process, you will better understand what is developmentally applicable for each student under your care.  

When we have teachers and caregivers who are intent on each student’s success, the result is children who believe in themselves and can excel in their studies.  

If you have more questions on receiving your CDA or steps about how you can receive CDA childcare assistance, please visit the Child Care Aware of Missouri website.   There you will find an abundance of articles and resources that discuss the CDA credentialing process from start to finish. 

How to Enroll for Child Care Classes Online as a Missouri Provider

Child care classes

Whether you’re an aspiring daycare teacher, or if you’re a well-established childcare educator moving in from out of state, it’s imperative for you to know how the process of completing your annual clock hours works from start to finish.  You may be wondering: 

“Are there free child care training classes? “ 

“Are child care classes online offered?”

“How do I register for these continuing education programs?”

We have all the answers you’re looking for.  Let us help you connect the dots and make your next year of professional development easier. 

Registering to Obtain Your Missouri Professional Development Identification (MOPD)

Nothing is worse than realizing you still have all your clock hours to complete at the last moment, so we will walk you through how Child Care Aware of Missouri works alongside other Missouri education commissions to enable the continuing education of Missouri state child care providers. 

Missouri requires providers obtain a Missouri Professional Development Identification (MOPD ID) through the Opportunities in a Professional Education Network (OPEN). This ID is then used to track attendance and completion of trainings that are approved for DESO (Department of Elementary & Secondary Education) licensure clock hours.  This data remains stored by OPEN in the Missouri Professional Development Registry.  

Child Care Aware of Missouri, OPEN and DESE work together to maintain the Missouri Professional Development System, here’s a handy graphic to help explain the entire system to you in a more digestible manner, along with contact emails for each sector. 

key functions of the MO professional development system

DESE – Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Child Care Classes Online and Free Child Care Trainings

The Department of Elementary and Secondary education contracts with Child Care Aware of Missouri to provide families with child care referrals – in addition to free child care trainings both offered face-to-face and online.  

If you require special assistance in accessing the trainings listed on DESE’s website,  you may submit a request through them for a captioned video or transcript.  

Caregivers working in licensed child care facilities in the State of Missouri are required to receive 12 clock hours of training approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) from January 1 to December 31 each year. 

Please refer to the link above prior to registering for any of DESE’s free child care classes online to ensure you are correctly registered and eligible to receive clock hours for your studies

When registering, ensure you use the correct MOPD ID, as this will allow your clock hours to be sent directly to OPEN. 

After completion of a course at DESE, you can print your certificate at the end of your child care class online, or take a screenshot, and keep it for your personal records.  

National and Out of State Conferences Approved by OPEN

National conference and out-of-state trainings which are approved for clock hour credit can be found on DESE’s website.  

Although these paid and free child care training have been approved for clock credit hours, you must still follow the instructions at the top of the sheet carefully for your clock hours to be recorded in OPEN. 

For your clock hours to be recorded in your toolbox, you must: 

  • Email, Mail or Fax documentation of completion to OPEN for entry into the individual’s record. 
  • OPEN staff will enter data within 30 calendar days of receipt. 
  • Email to: [email protected]
  • Mail:   1400 Rock Quarry Road, Suite Q108

Colombia, MO 65211-3280

  • Fax: 573-884-4627

The Missouri Workshop Calendar – A Fantastic Resource for Paid and Free Child Care Training Classes 

As you can see from the diagram above, Child Care Aware of Missouri administers the web-based Missouri Workshop Calendar.  This calendar lists out all child care classes online, both in real-time and on-demand, as well as in-person classes and free child care training classes. 

All the class options are approved for Missouri clock hours, making it easy for you to select the child care training class that is right for you.  

All scheduled child care classes online and in-person listed on the calendar include a training description, the number of clock hours offered, the location, and registration, to help make the choice of which training to take simpler and easier for Missouri providers. 

When registering for child care classes online from the Missouri Workshop Calendar, be sure to have your MOPD ID at hand.  You will need to provide this during the registration process to receive your credit for completing the assigned clock hours for that program.  

As an aside, please be advised that providers who do not require clock hours must still enter their MOPD ID to receive credit for the training. 

You can find additional information regarding child care provider training requirements by visiting the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website’s FAQ page.  

Does Child Care Aware Offer Free Child Care Training Classes?

Child Care Aware® of Missouri offers a wide array of child care classes online as well as in-person trainings across the state.  

If you are ready to register for a training, please download your Training Registration Form HERE.  Print and complete your form.  Scan and email your completed forms to

[email protected] 

Alternatively, you can mail your completed training registration forms to: 

Child Care Aware of Missouri

1000 Executive Parkway Drive, Suite 103

St. Louis, MO 63141

To find out more about sessions that are offered by Child Care Aware® of Missouri, click on the link below. 

Basic Knowledge Curriculum – Early Childhood (BKC EC)

This course is 10 sessions long, and is broken out into the following subject matter:

  1. Positive Interactions with Children
  2. Child Safety & Routine Care
  3. Safe Environments
  4. Guiding Children’s Behavior
  5. Playing with a Purpose
  6. Routines, Rituals and Schedules
  7. Emergency Planning 

Basic Knowledge Curriculum – Infant/Toddler (BKC IT)

This course is 4 sessions long and is broken out into the following subject matter: 

  1. Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Infants and Toddlers
  2. Preventing the Abuse and Neglect of Infants and Toddlers
  3. What Infants and Toddlers are Telling Us 
  4. Supporting the Development and Well-Being of Infants and Toddlers

Social and Emotional Foundations for Learning (SEFL)

This course is 6 sessions long and is broken out into the following subject matter: 

  1. Relationships are Key
  2. Building Emotional Well-being and Social Competence in Children
  3. Strong Families, Strong Children
  4. Creating a Socially and Emotionally Aware Classroom
  5. Strategies for Teaching Social and Emotional Skills
  6. The Importance of Self-Care

Supervision of Children

This course is comprised of one in-depth session on the supervision of children, where six strategies for Active Supervision in various childcare settings will be laid out, as well as making child care professionals familiar with the SPECTRUM Alert, a procedure for reducing the risk of child elopement in a child with autism. 

Training Requirements for Child Care Facilities 

The amount of training required depends on the type of licensure you have.  These requirements are broken down on the DESE website by facility type, options being either “Licensed,” “License-exempt,” and “6 or fewer.” 

All the training requirements are for child care centers that receive federal child care subsidy payments.  To continue to receive these payments, you must attend specific child care classes online, as outlined by the size of your facility.  

This requirement aims to ensure children are receiving safer and more family-friendly care.  

Licensed Child Care Facility Requirements

Initial Training Requirements for Licensed Child Care Facilities 

  1. “Child Care Subsidy Orientation” This training is only required to be completed once.  Only one staff member is required to take this training, that being either the director or the facility’s owner.  Approved options for completing this training include free child care training online at; alternatively, Educare also offers this as free in-person training.  To learn more about the Educare provider covering your county, you may visit
  2. CCDF Health and Safety Training” is another child care class online that you must only complete once.  Approved options to complete this free child care training are to take the training for free online at or by accessing a free in-person class through Educare by clicking the link above and looking for the Educare provider who covers your county.
  3. “Pediatric First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)” This training must be kept current, as it will expire every two years.  First Aid/CPR training is only accepted from the following national models:
    • American Academy of Pediatrics PedFACTS
    • American Heart Association
    • EMS Safety
    • Emergency Care and Safety Institute
    • American Trauma Event Management (ATEM)
    • American Red Cross
    • American Safety and Health Institute
    • National Safety Council
    • ProTrainings

To complete your first aid/CPR training, you have a few options.  You may either enroll through the Missouri Workshop Calendar or pay to have training conducted by a trainer who offers certificates from one of the national models listed above. 

You will need to email your certificate to [email protected].  Alternatively, you may contact your local health department, as they may offer a free pediatric first aid/CPR certification option.

Please be advised that CPR child care classes online are not allowed.   All First Aid/CPR training must be taken in-person and obtain a certification from the approved model. 

License-Exempt Child Care Facility Requirements 

Initial Training Requirements for License-Exempt Child Care Facilities

The required training for license-exempt child care facilities are much the same as for licensed facilities.  

  1. You must complete your “Child Care Subsidy Orientation” free child care training, though it is only required that one staff member, an owner, or a director, complete this.  
  2. Secondly, you will be required to complete the “CCDF Health and Safety Training”, which is another child care class online, or in-person. 
  3. Lastly, you must take your Pediatric First Aid and CPR course, which must be kept current, and received through a national accrediting body as listed out above. 

Though exemptions to the annual training requirements exist for renewing providers, we suggest that you review these requirements directly to see if you qualify for any of these exemptions. 

Requirements for Child Care Facilities with 6 or Fewer Children

Initial Training Requirements for 6 or Fewer 

The training requirements for child care facilities with 6 or fewer children are the same as the above requirements for licensed and license-exempt facilities.  

You are still able to attend free child care training online, and paid child care classes online, if they are through accredited bodies okayed through DESE.  

Safe Sleep Training 

Section 210.223, RSMo, requires that child care facilities licensed to provide care to children less than one (1) year of age complete department-approved training on the recent safe sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) every three years. 

Safe Sleep Training must be on the Toolbox safe sleep training report.  A list of department-approved safe sleep training can be found on the MO Workshop Calendar, under the blue “Safe Sleep” tab.  The safe sleep training is offered both as a free child care training in-person and as a child care class online. 

Staying Up to Date on Your Clock Hour Requirements through DESE, OPEN and Child Care Aware of Missouri 

Trying to stay up to date on all your clock hour requirements can seem like a daunting task.  That is why Child Care Aware of Missouri, DESE, and OPEN have created a multitude of continuing education resources for our child care professionals.  

Realizing that you are a busy child care educator, we have designed our program to offer as many free child care training and child care classes online as possible.  Our goal is to keep our teachers and facilitators up to date on the latest in child care safety, growth, and well-being.  This in turn carries over to the care that your children receive while learning at one of our Missouri child care facilities.  

Key Takeaways from this Article 

  1. Be proactive in maintaining your clock hours.  You do not want to get stuck at the last-minute scrambling to attain all your credits. 
  2. Utilize the resources listed on the MO Workshop Calendar, DESE, and other accredited websites as mentioned in this article. 
  3. Register in a timely manner for your child care classes online, and especially for those free child care trainings that are in-person, as they tend to book up quickly. 
  4. Add reminders to your calendars so that you are not at risk of forgetting to sign up for your courses prior to when your clock hours are due. 
  5. Lastly, remember that Child Care Aware of Missouri, DESE, and OPEN are here with you to assist you, your facility, and the children that you teach receive the highest quality of training and care possible.  

What is MOve Smart, and how can it benefit you as part of your child care professional training?

Child playing on playgroundIf you’ve heard there’s a program in Missouri that promotes healthy physical activity in child care settings, then you’re probably thinking of MOve Smart. Curious readers have found themselves in the right place — we’re here to take you through all aspects of the program, from child care professional training to earning the distinction for your child care facility.

We’re going to spend a lot of this piece exploring why physical activity is an important aspect of early childhood care, and that’s because MOve Smart is all about promoting those youngest kids getting active. If you don’t believe that’s a worthwhile goal, then you’re not going to care one way or the other about MOve Smart and its associated child care professional training. We’ll go through the specifics of the program first for anybody who doesn’t need to be convinced of its importance, and then we’ll move into explaining more of the rationale behind those guidelines. 

In one of the last sections, we’re going to debunk several of the common myths surrounding physical activity for kids under 5. Lots of adults are only thinking about it as exercise through their own lens, and they might fail to consider some important details of children’s specific needs in this department. 

Before we get into that, we’ve got to make sure everyone’s on the same page. So, let’s get some basic information out of the way.

What is MOve Smart?

Like we said at the top, MOve Smart is a program in the state of Missouri that aims to help child care workers get kids active in age-appropriate ways. There are two pieces to this. Individual instructors can take the MOve Smart child care professional training, but child care facilities can also earn MOve Smart recognition. There’s a core level recognition as well as an advanced one. Here are the criteria for each:

Core Level Criteria

  1. A written activity policy communicated to staff and parents
  2. At least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity built in to toddlers’ and preschoolers’ daily schedules
  3. At least 30 minutes of physical activity led by the teacher for toddlers and preschoolers each day
  4. Staff modeling and promoting active play
  5. All staff completing the MOve Smart child care professional training
  6. Never withholding physical activity as a punishment

Advanced Level Criteria

  1. Having an indoor play space that allows for moderate to vigorous physical activity
  2. Having an outdoor play space for active play
  3. Structured physical activity is regularly integrated into learning activities at least twice per day
  4. Children under 2 years old are allowed no screen time, and older children are allowed no more than 30 minutes per week of screen time for educational or physical activity purposes
  5. Except for naps and meals, children are not sedentary for longer than 30 minutes at a time throughout the day
  6. Area includes visual materials that promote physical activity, like books, posters, or pictures

Who can receive MOve Smart recognition?

The MOve Smart Child Care program is open to all early care and education facilities in the state of Missouri, as it’s awarded by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. That includes traditional child care centers as well as family child care homes and group homes. Head Start sites, which are branches of a federal early childhood program, are also eligible to pursue MOve Smart recognition.

Again, it bears repeating that the recognition and the child care professional training of the same name are by no means the same thing. Anyone can complete the child care professional training on the state’s website. It’s an hour-long, online course. 

What are the benefits of receiving MOve Smart recognition? 

There’s more than just the satisfaction of knowing the children in your care are getting the right level of activity and kinds of movement to promote their health. One of the next biggest rewards is that your facility will be listed on the DHSS website, and your status as a MOve Smart-recognized program will be included in the Child Care Aware provider search and Healthy Child Care newsletter. You’ll be signaling to your current families as well as prospective ones that your facility is a great place for children to start off their physical activity journeys.

You’ll also be able to promote your MOve Smart recognition on your own through using the logo on your website and any printed materials you might have made. The DHSS provides all of the recognized programs with a certificate of achievement, window cling, poster, and sample press release, so you’ll be prepared to celebrate and advertise your new standing however you see fit.

How do you apply for MOve Smart recognition?

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of this kind of recognition, you’re ready to complete the associated child care professional training and/or apply for recognition. Here’s the process for that application:

  • Decide if you want your facility to be recognized at the Core or Advanced level.
  • Send an email to [email protected] letting the department know you’d like to apply for the recognition. They can get you in touch with some support and resources that might help you along in your application process.
  • Go over the requirements and make any necessary alterations to your child care facility in order to meet those criteria. This includes making sure all staff members have completed the necessary child care professional training. 
  • Submit the application, including relevant documentation

That’s it! You’ll hear back about the goodies you receive with your recognition shortly. Do keep in mind that the recognition is only valid for one year at a time, so you’ll have to renew annually with a self-assessment.

Why is physical activity important for young children?

There are all kinds of reasons why getting young children active will benefit them, both in the long run and more immediately. It’s pretty apparent that physical activity positively impacts bone and muscle strength, flexibility, and blood pressure. Those bodily benefits almost go without saying. What might be more of a surprise to you are all the mental benefits that go along with them. Physical activity can help the brain think better as well as improve moods and sleep quality. These are all important aspects of a child’s overall wellbeing, not to mention performance in school. A child care professional training on this subject will cover all these topics in more detail than we have space for here, if you’re interested in learning more.

Some Common Misconceptions about Physical Activity for Young Children

Many of us are far more familiar with the rules and guidelines surrounding exercise for adults and maybe even for school aged kids. When it comes to physical activity needs for toddlers and even younger kids, though, there’s usually a lot more confusion and uncertainty. Here are some of the more common misconceptions about physical activity for the youngest kids and the truth about what they need to thrive.

Myth: Continuous activity is always better than sporadic activity.

Since adults tend to block out a specific portion of their day or week for exercise, many people are under the impression that physical activity for just a few minutes at a time isn’t worthwhile or is inferior to spending 30 minutes or more on movement. 

Fact: Physical activity should be built into a toddler’s schedule throughout the day.

Young children don’t have the attention span for “workouts” as adults are used to them. As is exemplified in the MOve Smart criteria, building in brief periods of activity throughout the day to add up to 30 or 60 minutes is a great way to get young kids moving. That way, their natural spurts of energy can be utilized and followed up with rest periods or instruction where they need to be still. 

Myth: How often children are active at very young ages doesn’t really influence how active they are later in life.

When a child is jumping around with scarves or climbing on the playground, it’s hard to imagine that those little activities are going to have much of an effect on how often they hit the gym when they’re older. Many people think that kids will outgrow sedentary ways once they get to school or once they’re able to workout in the ways we typically imagine. 

Fact: Attitudes toward and habits around physical activity start young and last a long time.

Those who start out with a sedentary lifestyle don’t magically become active once they hit adulthood. Building those habits and mindsets starts at a very early age. According to the MOve Smart workbook, “Physical activity patterns develop in childhood and tend to last through adulthood.” You’ll learn more about this principle in relevant child care professional training.

Myth: Structured activity is better than unstructured play time.

Many adults are under the impression that in order for physical activity to be useful, an adult needs to lead it. Making sure kids do the “right” kind of activity is very important, and you need to have very specific child care professional training in order to lead the kids correctly.

Fact: Free, creative physical activity is vital to children’s development.

While it’s true that having structured ways to get active is an important aspect of a child’s daily routine, it’s not any more important than letting a child loose on a playground or with active toys where they can create their own activities. As you’ll learn in the MOve Smart child care professional training, both elements should be built into each day’s schedule.

While it’s true that specific trainings can help teachers with ideas on the kinds of activities to lead, you don’t need to be a physical education teacher in order to encourage and participate in healthy movement.

Myth: You don’t need to be concerned about physical activity for infants — if they can’t even crawl, why bother?

Infants seem to be the very definition of sedentary for many adults. They can’t do anything by themselves, it seems, so why even waste a moment trying to build physical activity into their daily routines? They’re definitely not going to be playing hopscotch or throwing a ball for quite some time. 

Fact: There are lots of ways to promote proper physical activity with infants.

Even infants can benefit from a focus on physical activity, and many good child care professional training courses will tell you this. They need supervised tummy time every day — you can start with 3 to 5 minutes and then increase from there. You can also encourage them to reach for toys. That may not sound like much, but for the littlest kids, that’s as good as a trip to the gym. You should also be taking infants outside 2 to 3 times each day if possible, and you should try not to keep them confined in places like strollers and swings for more than 15 minutes at a time. 

MOve Smart child care professional training can help you shape a new generation of active kids.

Now that we’ve seen just how important regular physical activity is for children under 5, it should be a no-brainer to pursue MOve Smart recognition for your early childhood care facility. You can refer back to this piece during the process if you need any help along the way. We went over all the steps you need to take to achieve that recognition, and we’ve also covered why it’s such a good idea on several fronts, if you need to do any convincing. 

Making sure the next generation has everything they need to succeed is the number one job of child care workers. Promoting appropriate physical activity at every step along the way is a vital part of that mission, and MOve Smart child care professional training can help you get there.

If you need any other child care resources, check out the rest of what we do here at Child Care Aware of Missouri. You can also reach out to us here if you need help with something you can’t find. We’re always happy to do our best to connect you with the best resources we can.

Our Best CDA in Child Care Tips

Toddlers eating a snack at a small tableLots of child care professionals want to pursue their CDA in child care. If you’re not aware, CDA stands for Child Development Associate credential. Earning a CDA in child care is a big deal. It signals to your peers and potential employers that you’re serious about your chosen profession.

Earning the credential involves a lot of steps. You need training hours, an observation, a portfolio, and to pass an exam. All told, that’s quite a bit of effort on your part. That’s why you’ll need all the help you can get. We’ve broken our tips into sections accordingly: One for the training requirement, one for the exam, and one to guide you through the verification visit by a Professional Development specialist. We’ll go over everything you need to do to get your CDA application in order at each of these stages.

While you shouldn’t get all of your information about your CDA application from one little blog post, we should be able to give you a great jumping off point for completing your CDA in child care. So, let’s get into it. We’ll start with the required training hours.

Tips for your CDA Child Care Training Hours

This is unquestionably the biggest part of the CDA credential, and it’s one of the tallest hurdles you need to get over for your CDA application. As such, you might think you need the most help to get it done. We’ve got some great advice to help you accomplish this feat.

Take a CDA child care specific course.

One part is choosing the right training. A key component of a CDA in child care is the 120 hours of training across eight fields that’s required. A crucial distinction — the requirement is 120 total hours with 10 hours in each of the eight CDA child care subject areas. Those are:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding the principles of child development and learning

There are a lot of different CDA child care courses out there. If you choose to opt for one, make sure it will cover all of those areas adequately. Also be sure to collect proof that you completed those training hours — if the program offers a certificate of completion or other documentation, make sure you hold onto it. You’ll need it for your portfolio.

Get your training done before submitting your CDA application.

Once you turn in your CDA application to the Council, you’ve only got six months to complete all of the requirements and earn your credential. So, it’s a good idea to get what you can out of the way before the clock starts. Your 120 training hours are one of those things to knock out before you ever submit that initial application. It’s also great to do because if you start with a CDA child care course, you’ll have a lot of resources to help you through the rest of the process.

Make sure you have the right resources.

In addition to courses to fulfill your training requirements, you can also purchase books that will help you through the process. The right kinds of guides will offer a lot more help than we ever could in a little blog post. However, you don’t want to overdo it. If you’re participating in a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of your CDA application, then you should have the right resources to find success. 

Tips for your CDA Child Care Exam

Testing anxiety is a real concern. For people who struggle with that, this component of your CDA in child care is going to be the most distressing. With the right preparation, though, you can definitely ace this test. Here, we’ve got you covered with some advice going into your CDA child care exam.

Brush up on your multiple choice skills.

All of the questions on the CDA child care exam are multiple choice. So, you should go back to the basics of optimizing any multiple choice test. Definitely try your best to answer every question, even if you have to guess (incomplete questions are marked as wrong). Eliminate options that are clearly wrong and try to pick the best one from the remaining answers. Go back over any questions that you’re not sure about if you have time at the end of the test.

Know what they’re going to be asking.

Most of the questions are situational, which means you’ll be asked to pick the option that most closely resembles how you would respond to the given situation. While you won’t be able to know the exact questions that will be on your exam, you should be able to get a general idea of the kinds of questions from taking practice tests. There are plenty of resources for those. If you’ve got a good idea of what sorts of situations and quandaries they’ll pose, then your CDA application is more likely to be successful. It’s basic studying, so fall back on what worked for you in school.

Tips for your CDA Child Care Verification Visit

This can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the process following your CDA application, especially if you’re not too bothered about taking the exam. The Professional Development specialist you select will come to your place of work for about four hours. The first hour will be spent reviewing your portfolio, followed by two hours of observing you at work. Then, their visit finishes with an hour sitting down with you and discussing various relevant things (we’ll go over what they’ll want to talk to you about in more detail later). Those are the basic steps in the CDA child care verification visit process, but we have some more specifics about what they’re looking for. Here are our tips.

Make sure you’re signed up for the right kind of CDA.

This might sound too obvious, but in a field this complex, it’s easy for little things to slip through the cracks, and discrepancies do sometimes occur between your CDA application and what’s on your competency standards booklet. You should have the opportunity to fix it before your verification visit, and take that opportunity if you need to. Your PD specialist should be able to help you make the proper arrangements to get you signed up for the right setting. The verification visit can’t go forward if you’re not signed up for the right kind of setting.

Complete your portfolio before you have your verification visit.

While it is possible for your PD specialist to continue their visit without a completed portfolio on your part, you’re going to get docked for that. You’re also wasting the valuable time you have to spend with an expert in your field. We’ll talk a little bit more about the relationship between you and your PD specialist later, but for now, just keep in mind that you have an hour to speak with a qualified professional about your strengths, weaknesses, and goals as a child care worker. 

Make sure your portfolio reflects you. 

It’s possible that you might need to be in a room that’s not yours for your observation. Maybe you’re normally the secondary teacher, or maybe there are staffing issues going on that day. Whatever the reason, you might not be on your home turf for your observation. That can be stressful. Part of what the PD specialist judges your CDA application on is the environment: Are cleaning supplies locked away? Are the books age-appropriate? Those kinds of considerations are very important. But when you’re in a room that’s not your own, you might not be in control of those things. 

If you’re concerned about this, making sure the portfolio element of your CDA application accurately reflects you is a way you can get across anything you don’t get to during your observation time, whether that’s because you’re not in your own environment or simply due to time constraints.

Be prepared.

One of the reassuring things about the PD specialist’s visit is that you know exactly when it’s going to happen. Since the visit won’t be a surprise, you can tailor the activities for that day around what the PD specialist is looking for. You can find all of those guidelines in the back of your competency standards booklet. They’ll take those exact pages to guide their observations, so you’ve got all the important information at your fingertips. So, take a look at those, and try to plan out your day around what they’re expecting to see.

Don’t talk to the PD specialist during the observation period.

You’ll probably be a little nervous about an expert watching you work. It’s not every day that someone’s evaluating you! It’s totally normal to be nervous about the fate of your CDA application, but try not to ask the PD specialist for reassurance while they’re observing you. It’s generally best to just go about your job like you normally would. You’ll have time to chat with them during the reflection period after the observation.

Collect as many family questionnaires as you can.

Part of the portfolio that you’ll present to your PD specialist is an overview of some questionnaires filled out by families who send their children to your place of work. PD specialists don’t read the family questionnaires, but they do count how many you get back in comparison to how many you sent out. You need to collect more than half of what you distribute and then condense what they’ve said into the appropriate forms. 

Make it clear how the pandemic changes things

The current situation regarding COVID-19 means that not everything in your child care environment will be ideal. For social distancing reasons, you might have certain toys assigned to each child or other special considerations that would otherwise be unreasonable. As long as you communicate this during your interview time, your PD specialist should be understanding.

See your PD specialist as a mentor rather than a disciplinarian.

The PD specialist observing you isn’t trying to dock points just for fun. They’re there to ensure that you’re practicing everything that you’ve put into words in your portfolio. We already mentioned that at the end of their visit, they’ll sit down with you for an hour-long discussion about what they saw and what you wrote in your portfolio. If they didn’t get a chance to see part of your daily routine due to the time of day of the observation, then they’ll ask you about the typical procedure or how you incorporate those elements into your work.

This reflection period and interview isn’t another exam. Yes, you’re being judged, but it’s all in an effort to make you a better child care professional. Make the most of the time you have with an expert in your field who wants to see you succeed.

The biggest tip: Don’t go it alone.

The biggest piece of advice we can give you about your CDA application is to find resources to help you with it. This blog post is a great place to start with your CDA child care instruction needs, but it’s definitely not the last place you should go. You’ll benefit from whatever support you can get.

As we discussed in the first section, taking a CDA child care course is a great way to get that initial help. Not only will that take you through the 120 hours of required training and all of the important subject areas, but it will also give you access to more resources to get your CDA application filled out properly.

If you need any further help with anything child care related, don’t be afraid to reach out to us here at Child Care Aware of Missouri. We’ve got plenty of resources for parents and child care professionals alike, and we’re happy to try to point you in the right direction if you need something we don’t provide. Best of luck with your CDA application!

How to Make the Most of Child Care Training Online

A man taking a child care training onlineThe past couple years have forced us to get used to lots of life happening online. Child care training online is no exception. Of course, online child care workshops have existed for a while, and they’re by no means new, but they’re particularly well-suited to our current climate. You can learn a lot about the field without having to leave your home. Plus, since different states require child care workers to complete a certain number of training hours each year, they’re a great way to stay on top of your obligations. 

Taking child care training online has some benefits over in-person classes. The biggest one for many people is that it’s vastly more convenient. You won’t have to travel at all — you could even do it in your pajamas! The flip side, though, is that you’re missing out on any potential hands-on experience an in-person training might provide. Online courses are notoriously less engaging than in-person ones, and even though they’re more convenient and practical for our current situation, it can still be tricky to make them feel as impactful as a face-to-face option.

That’s where this post comes in. We’ll give you seven tips on how to make the most of taking child care training online. Our suggestions cover all sorts of different aspects of online child care workshops, and hopefully, you’ll be ready to take them head-on by the end of this piece. But before we get into all that, we have to cover some basics.

First, you have to know where to find them.

You can’t make the most of a training that you don’t sign up for. Therefore, we wanted to start with some tips on how to find child care training online. First, if you live and work in Missouri, you can always check out the Office of Childhood within the Department of Health and Senior Services. They have a list of all the different online child care trainings they offer. Starting here has two main perks: First, you’ll be sure that all of them count toward your required training hours for the year. Second, they’re all completely free. 

There are plenty of other places on the internet to find child care training online, but starting with a trusted resource like the DHSS is a great first move. That way, you’ll be sure that you’re getting good, reliable information and that you’re not wasting any time or money on courses that don’t fulfill your requirements. Other places to look for online child care workshops include any professional organizations that might offer them, especially if they’re ones you’re a member of or ones you’d like to join.

Also think about the specific kind of child care training you’d like to take. Then, try to find an organization that specializes in that area of the field. They might have online child care workshops that fit your needs. 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the tips for taking child care training online.

Tip 1: Take it as seriously as you would an in-person training course.

Online child care workshops might not feel as official as their in-person counterparts, but if you can treat them as such, then you’re well on your way to making the most of child care training online. Come into the experience with the right attitude. You want to learn everything you can to increase your knowledge and abilities as a child care provider, and you’re taking child care training online as a means to that end. Most of the following tips all fall under this umbrella, and they’re more specific ways to make sure you’re staying on top of everything. 

Basically, this is a mindset thing. When you’re sitting on your couch with your laptop in front of you, it’s easier to be in relaxation mode instead of focus mode. At an in-person training event, you’re going to be primed to be more focused because you’re in a space designed for the workshop or class. You won’t be in the same area as all your typical chores and relaxation like you will be at home. So, when you’re taking child care training online, you need to put a conscious effort into treating it as seriously as an in-person class. This will help you get the most out of the experience.

Tip 2: Stay focused.

This is, of course, much easier said than done. This tip also dovetails nicely with the previous one. Since you’ll likely be at home to take child care training online, you’ll have all the things around the house that typically distract you. Try to eliminate as many of those as you can before starting online child care workshops. Set up a work zone somewhere with minimal distractions, or at least turn off the TV before you get started. If there are other people in the house, let them know when your online child care workshops are so that they won’t bother you during the training (as long as they remember).

Another way to increase your focus is to choose the right time to do your training, provided that it’s an on-demand situation. If you’re doing some kind of synchronous class or participating in a Q&A session with an expert in the field, then you’re not going to have much of a choice when it comes to the timing of your class. However, if you are able to choose when to complete your training, doing it at a time when you’ll have the least amount of distractions and are at your most focused is a great idea.

Tip 3: Supplement with in-person options when you can.

Okay, so we’ll admit this is less of a tip for child care training online and more of a suggestion in addition to those courses. Lots of hybrid options can be a great way to combine in-person experience with the convenience of online courses. Online child care workshops are definitely missing the kinds of face-to-face connections that you can get from in-person offerings, so see if you can add that component in elsewhere. You might learn about first aid in an online course, for example, and then take a hands-on CPR class to complement that theoretical knowledge with some practical experience. 

This strategy isn’t feasible for every type of child care training, but it’s a good one to keep in mind when you’re scheduling your different classes for the year. Finding a good mix, when possible, can help even things out.

Tip 4: Take notes.

What you learn in a child care training online can serve you for a long time to come. You’ll want to be able to remember what you learn in online child care workshops, and keeping notes of what went down is a great way to ensure that longevity. You’ll have them to look back on for as long as you can keep track of them, and it might also help you retain the information better.

How you choose to take notes is up to you. Some people prefer to type up their notes while others are dead-set on pen and paper. Especially since you’re taking the child care training online, it might be helpful to have one solid, non-digital element like physical notes to fall back on. Whatever method you choose, it can be helpful to stay organized. Get a notebook specifically for your training classes and take all your notes there. Make sure you write down the name and date of the course. Or, if you’re choosing to go digital, keep your notes in one document or folder that has a descriptive name. That can help you find them later.

Figure out a system that works for you and stick to it. You’ll have an easier time recalling the information as well as pulling up your notes when you’d like to refer back to them. Even though you’re probably not going to have to take a big final exam for any of these comparatively low-stakes online child care workshops, you’ll still want to be able to feel like you learned something to truly make the most of it.

Tip 5: Get your technology in order.

You want to make sure everything works before a scheduled child care training online. That includes a stable internet connection, a computer that won’t randomly crash in the middle of the workshop, speakers or headphones that you’ll be able to hear clearly out of, and potentially a microphone, if it’s a live class where participation is encouraged. Make sure your setup includes all the things you’ll need for this particular child care training online. That way, you can avoid any mid-workshop catastrophes, and you can stay focused on learning instead of trying to troubleshoot any technical issues. This will make your training time much more efficient. 

Enlist help if you need it. There might be resources within the class you’re taking, or you might have to seek outside assistance. Whatever the case, you should make note of exactly what you’ll need for this specific course and then ensure you’ve got all those things ready to go. You won’t gain anything from online child care workshops you can’t access, so make sure you’ve got the digital resources you need.

Tip 6: Network, if possible.

This one is a bit of a stretch for a lot of you taking child care training online. However, we figured it was worth mentioning just to underscore how important it is. Not all online child care workshops have the option of getting to know other people taking the training, but if there is some kind of chat function, make the most of it. 

Most of these trainings are just going to be watching some videos and taking some quizzes, but if you do end up in a more traditional online course, you might be able to meet some like-minded professionals. Networking is always a good idea to set a foundation for advancing in your chosen field. And surrounding yourself with other child care providers who value gaining new information and insight through online child care workshops is never a bad idea.

So, this is all to say that if it’s at all possible to connect with other people taking the courses you are, then you should definitely go for it. Building a network takes work, and this can be the start of a great one.

Tip 7: Keep track of what trainings you take.

This is a great way to finish out your online child care workshops strong. You want to make sure you can refer back to which trainings you’ve already taken, and you’ll want to be able to prove that you have successfully completed the class. Get documentation if it’s necessary and available. That might mean printing off a certificate at the end of the course or saving a screenshot of it. You might also be able to prove you’ve completed a child care training online in another way, so just make sure you know what your options are with the specific courses you’re taking. 

The last thing you want is to be short training hours at the end of the year because you assumed you’d taken enough but hadn’t kept track, or because you can’t prove that you really did take enough classes. Keeping good records of your child care trainings will help prevent these headaches.

Now, you’re set up for success with child care training online.

By now, you’re fully aware of the basic steps you need to take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your online child care workshops. You can find, participate in, and learn from some great online child care trainings, and you know how to keep those benefits for years to come.

If you need any other help finding resources related to child care, whether that’s training for child care providers or any other element of this very complicated field, you can always start with us here at Child Care Aware of Missouri. You can reach out to us here if you have any further questions. We’re always happy to see if we can connect you with the right resources to meet your needs, whether that’s online child care workshop-related or otherwise.

How to Find Free Child Care Trainings

A preschool teacher reading to students who benefited from free child care trainingsKeeping up with all the latest advances in the child care field is so important — it’s an incredibly complex field that’s hard to understand. That’s why child care online training courses are a great resource for child care providers. And free child care trainings are even better. Both of these kinds of options make education more accessible to more child care providers, and that’s always a good thing. 

It’s important to make sure we’re getting our kids the highest quality care possible. There are all kinds of reasons that we should be making sure our child care professionals are as highly trained as possible, and we’ve already written about those here. We’ll give you a brief summary in this piece as well, though, in case you don’t want to read an entire other blog post. The gist of it is that our society is stronger with better education and care for our children. Their parents are able to be more productive at work, and they have a better shot at success later in life. Plus, at least in the state of Missouri, child care workers are required to complete 12 clock hours of training each year. 

Lots of the free child care trainings we’re going to list here will count toward those hours. Sometimes child care online training courses don’t count, but not always. We’ll make a note of any child care online training courses we mention that wouldn’t qualify for your yearly hours. And even if they don’t, if it’s a high-quality class, then you’re still getting something out of it. 

Here, we’ll give you some advice on how to find free child care trainings and what to look for when you’ve found them. Read on.

Check out your online options.

Searching for free child care trainings is going to be a lot harder if you limit yourself to in-person classes and seminars. It should be clear why child care online training courses are easier to make free than in-person ones. There’s no need to rent space, buy or print any materials, or any other costs that in person events must incur. Plus, you won’t need to pay for travel costs to get there.

On the flip side, though, don’t assume all child care online training courses are going to be free by default. There are still a lot of costs associated with child care training. The organization offering the training will have designed the course, bringing on experts in the field to design the right kind of curriculum. That’s not free. 

So, it’s true that online child care training classes are often more accessible than their in-person counterparts. But don’t be tricked into thinking just because it’s online it’s automatically free. 

DHSS Child Care Online Training Courses

In Missouri, which is the state we’re based out of, the Department of Health and Senior Services has a lot of free child care trainings for you to peruse online. One of the best parts of choosing these child care online training courses is that you can be absolutely sure they’ll count toward your required clock hours for the year. 

There are all kinds of topics you can learn about in these child care online training courses. From licensing to social and emotional health and from poison safety to transportation and much more, there’s sure to be a course to interest you among those that the DHSS offers online. You can learn more about these free child care trainings here if we haven’t sold you on them yet.

Make sure the course is offered by a reputable source.

Especially when you’re looking at child care online training courses, you need to double check the credibility of the program and the organization who runs it. How diligent you need to be about this is going to depend on how you find the course. If you’re just looking on the DHSS website, then you don’t need to worry. All of those free child care trainings have been vetted and approved.

But when you happen to find free child care trainings elsewhere on the internet, then you might not be sure right away whether this is a reliable organization. Of course, you’re going to need to be more wary about paid courses, since you need to be careful with giving out your payment information, but don’t be lulled into a sense of security with free child care trainings. There are always going to be people trying to take advantage of others, especially online. Bad child care online training courses might not be as obviously shady as poorly planned in-person ones, which means you need to be extra aware. Make sure you’re not wasting your time. 

See if you can find information about the organization that put the course together. If there’s not much out there about them, that could be a bad sign. 

Don’t waste your time on online child care trainings that don’t serve you.

For those who need free child care trainings to fulfill their yearly clock hour requirement, you have an extra layer of inspection involved. It would be a real shame to complete a course and only later discover that you can’t count it toward your hours. So, while you’re checking that the child care online training courses you’re interested in are actually reputable, you should also be making sure what you’re learning is relevant to your job and your interests. If you never work with infants, for example, then you might not benefit from a sleep safe training course. Look for courses that are relevant to what you want to improve.

Scholarships can cut down on costs for training courses that aren’t free.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many high-quality child care training regimens aren’t accessible to everyone because of their cost. Free child care trainings are great when they’re available, but if you want to advance in the child care field, you’ll want to look beyond your free training options at some point. 

You’ll also want to look at comprehensive training programs rather than just one-off courses. An example of this would be earning your Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. There are different programs out there that will cover the cost of the application and test. Some of them will even pay you an extra stipend to achieve this credential. What could be better than getting paid to learn more about your field?

Think about your interests and specialties.

There are plenty of widely applicable and fairly generic online child care classes out there, but those will only take you so far. It might be beneficial to pursue a more specialized course of study. 

For example, if you’re a member of the American Montessori Society, then you’ll have access to free child care trainings on that organization’s website. Since you have to pay membership dues for this one, it’s not technically free. However, it’s still something you might have access to without incurring an additional cost. Looking for opportunities like this is a great way to find accessible training resources. Check through the different organizations you belong to or might like to join to see which ones have child care online courses — that might be a deciding factor for you.

Free child care trainings are only going to take you so far. If you want to further specialize in one area of the industry, then at some point, you’re likely going to have to pay for it. Picking an organization whose philosophy and methods you believe in is a good way to start. As we talked about in a previous section, you can also search for scholarships that can drastically reduce the cost of more traditional child care courses, if not make them free outright.

Check with your local child care resource and referral agency.

These organizations are dedicated to making sure that child care providers and families with small children are connected to all the resources they need. If you need more help than a simple blog post can provide, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local branch of Child Care Aware or another resource and referral agency.

You won’t need to worry about the quality of the free child care trainings that Child Care Aware recommends. They’re experts in the field, and they only associate with reputable, helpful, and totally above board resources, whether they’re child care online training courses or any other help you might want. Child care resource and referral agencies are great places to start a search for any child care-related need, training classes included.

Ask your colleagues.

Maybe you’re a step ahead of us and you’ve already tried this one, but we thought it deserved a spot on this list just in case. Don’t be shy about asking around for free training opportunities. Especially if you’re new to the child care field, you’ll probably have a lot to learn from your more experienced coworkers. They’re a great resource, as long as they’re willing.

Your employer might even schedule free child care trainings in order to increase the quality of their operation. Definitely take advantage of any opportunities you find through your work. We’ve already talked about how scholarships can help make training courses more affordable, but you should also check to see what your employer’s policy is on reimbursing you for continuing your education. If they don’t schedule their own trainings, they might be willing to pay for you to attend a relevant conference or class. There’s also the possibility of tuition reimbursement for pursuing more formal training. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Think about what will set you apart from your peers.

This is especially important if you’re not working in a child care center. Maybe you’re an independent child care provider trying to find clients whose homes you can visit. If that’s the case, you’re going to have to stand out from your competition. Consider what kinds of skills would make parents more comfortable leaving their children in your care. That can help you refine your search for child care online training courses.

Another situation where you’d want to carefully consider how to improve your child care skills is if you’re looking for a new job. No matter what type of setting you prefer to work in, there are likely going to be other applicants you’re competing against for a job. You want to have the right kinds of skills, training, and experience to land the position. This might go beyond what you can get out of free child care trainings, but it’s important to think about.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of great child care training courses out there, you just have to find them. In order to find good, free child care trainings, you need to be vigilant. You can go to a trusted source like the DHSS or Child Care Aware of Missouri and search from there, or you can take it to the wider web. 

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. When you work in child care, online training courses can be hugely beneficial due to their convenience and accessibility, but they can also be potentially problematic. You just need to do your due diligence and look into the organization that’s offering the child care online training courses.

Now, you’re fully aware of what to look for and how to go on the hunt for child care training classes. You can check with those organizations we’ve mentioned, check with your employer and coworkers, or just scour the internet. There are plenty of options, as well as places to go for help paying for any courses that aren’t free.

In some ways, no child care training is really free. There’s always going to be a cost of time or missing out on other things you could be doing instead. Even if it’s just a brief training video as part of child care online training courses, there are probably lots of other things you’d technically rather be doing. Nonetheless, it’s an important pursuit. Good luck!

Answering All Your Questions About CDA Certification in Missouri

Child care provider helping a student, using her CDA certification in MissouriBecoming more highly qualified as a child care provider has so many benefits — benefits for you, for the children you care for, for their parents, and for society at large. Those are some big incentives. Even if you want to advance your knowledge and career, though, it might be hard to find somewhere to start. That’s where a CDA certification in Missouri comes in. 

If you’re asking, “What is a CDA in child care?” then we probably need to start at the very beginning. CDA stands for Child Development Associate. A national organization called the Council for Professional Recognition sponsors this prestigious certification, and it’s recognized worldwide. We’re here to answer all your questions about this certification, going far beyond just, “What is a CDA in child care?” 

Embarking on a journey like achieving your CDA certification in Missouri can be a little daunting, but hopefully, having all the relevant information will make the process slightly less intimidating. We’ve attempted to compile some of the most common questions about the certification, from basics like, “What is a CDA in child care?” to more in-depth questions like how long the process takes and how often you have to renew a CDA certification in Missouri. We’ll even direct you to more resources, where appropriate.

Okay, without further ado, let’s get into it. Here’s your (mostly) complete guide to achieving your CDA certification.

What is a CDA in Child Care?

A CDA in child care is a certification that proves you have what it takes to be a successful early childhood care provider. It’s a way to quantify your knowledge and expertise in this very complex field. Earning your CDA certification in Missouri is going to be a major boost toward advancing your career in early childhood education. 

Because the process of earning a CDA has multiple steps, there are several different pieces involved in answering the question, “What is a CDA in child care?” There are three main elements: An exam, an observation, and a professional portfolio. We’ll give you more detail on those in the “How do I earn my CDA certification in Missouri?” section a little later on, but the goal right here is to provide a high-level overview of the certification. 

The bottom line is that the CDA is a well-respected credential, and if you’re interested in furthering your career in early childhood education, it’s definitely something you should look into.

Do I need child care experience to apply for a CDA? 

Yes. Before you can even start the process, you need to complete 480 hours of experience working with young children and 120 hours of formal training. The specific requirements for that training will depend on which track you’re choosing. You can pick from Center-Based Preschool, Center-Based Infant-Toddler, Family Child Care, and Home Visitor. No matter which track you choose, you need that training to cover eight different areas. They are:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning

There will be slight variations depending on the track you’ve chosen. In terms of experience, you also need to keep the observation component of the CDA in mind. You’ll need to be actively working or volunteering in a child care job in your chosen track in order for the CDA PD specialist to observe you working with children. We’ll dive deeper into the exact requirements of the different stages of the process in the next section. For now, it’s just important to note that you do need a fairly significant amount of child care experience and training before you can begin pursuing your CDA.

How do I earn my CDA certification in Missouri?

To earn your CDA certification in Missouri (or in any other state, but since we’re located in Missouri, that’s where we’ll keep our focus), you need to prove that you’re a qualified child care provider. There are several steps to this process. You can view them all in detail on the Council for Professional Recognition’s site, but we’ll give you a brief overview here. We touched on the three main components of the CDA in the “What is a CDA in child care?” section earlier, so now, let’s get a little more detailed. 

The Exam

This test consists of 65 multiple-choice questions, and they’ll be a lot tougher than, “What is a CDA in child care?” You’ll take the exam on a computer at a testing center. It covers different aspects of child care. You might leave your test anxiously wondering whether you passed or not, but that’s not how this exam works. The Council takes your exam results and weighs them with the other aspects of your application, and you’ll only hear if you achieved the credential or not. You won’t know if you “passed” the exam or not. So, take all the different components seriously, and one you’re stronger in might balance out your weaker spots.

The Observation

A CDA PD specialist will visit the place where you work or volunteer with children and assess how you do. Before they can do that, though, you’ll need to find a PD specialist in your area and contact them — you can start that process here

Once you’ve found a PD specialist to conduct the observation, they’ll look over your professional portfolio, which we’ll touch on in the next section. They’ll also speak to you in a reflection period, discussing your different strengths and weaknesses that they’ve identified from their observations. 

The Portfolio

The professional portfolio is the final piece to the CDA certification in Missouri. You will need to submit several different kinds of documents as part of your portfolio: Education documentation, family questionnaires, reflective statements of competence, resources, and a professional philosophy statement. Remember that the PD specialist will review your portfolio as part of your observation.

Who recognizes a CDA certification in Missouri?

CDA enjoys worldwide recognition, so any child care provider worth their salt in Missouri should be duly impressed by your CDA certification. They’ll know all the steps you had to take to go from learning what a CDA in child care is to earning one for yourself.

What kind of barriers to entry are there?

There are definitely financial barriers to completing your CDA certification in Missouri. The application for the test alone costs upwards of $400, and that’s not factoring in any training or studying costs. You’ll have to buy the CDA Competency Standards book when you apply for your initial credential, and there are two other books the Council offers to help you prepare for your portfolio and exam.

Depending on your area and circumstances, you might struggle with other aspects of the process, too — you might have trouble locating a suitable PD specialist, or you might face difficulties scheduling training and work experience hours. Fortunately, there are other organizations that can help you diminish these barriers to entry, specifically the cost.

Can I get help paying for my CDA certification in Missouri?

Yes. There are definitely CDA scholarship opportunities out there to help you earn that credential. For example, Child Care Aware of Missouri offers a CDA Scholarship Project, paying for your application fee, a bonus once you complete your CDA certification in Missouri, and supporting you along the way. If you’re interested in earning a CDA certification in Missouri, Child Care Aware of Missouri is definitely the place to go for assistance. 

However, if you live in a different state, you should check with your local child care resource and referral agencies. You should be able to find assistance with earning your CDA no matter what state you live in.

How long does it take to achieve a CDA certification?

It will depend. If you’re counting from when you find out what a CDA in child care is to the time you’ve completed your certification, it can be quite some time. You have to rack up all those training and experience hours before you can apply, take the exam, and complete your observation, after all. You’ll definitely want to take your time studying for the exam and compiling your portfolio items. But once you’ve completed all of the components, it shouldn’t take more than a handful of business days to find out whether you’ve achieved the certification or not.

When do I have to renew my CDA certification in Missouri?

A CDA is valid for three years. That might not sound like very long, but with a field this complex, it’s important to stay up-to-date. You won’t be asking basic questions like, “What is a CDA in child care?” anymore, but you might still have questions about that important renewal process. 

There are certain requirements you have to meet before you can apply for renewal. You need to have completed a certain amount of training, including approved first aid and pediatric CPR training (check out this PDF for more specifics). You’ll also have to be a current member of an early childhood education professional organization when you apply for renewal, and you’ll need someone to serve as your verifier. The last component (other than the $125 fee) is verification of 80 hours of work in your chosen child care setting.

Do make sure you renew your CDA before it expires — you can submit your renewal application as much as six months before that expiration date. If you want to change the track you chose for your CDA, you’ll have to go through the regular process again, not the renewal process.

If you have any more questions about the process, you can get free renewal guides from the Council for Professional Recognition. 

Where can I go for more help in this process?

Like we said at the beginning, the Council’s website is a great resource for more in-depth information on all the different steps in the process. There, you can also look up organizations that offer further assistance. Plus, we’ve also mentioned Child Care Aware of Missouri as a good place to go for more help, specifically if you’re trying to earn a CDA certification in Missouri.

How will I benefit from achieving my CDA certification in Missouri?

We’ve already touched on how you’ll benefit in the “What is a CDA in child care?” section — namely, through opportunities for career advancement. Having this sort of well-recognized credential to add to your resume can open up all kinds of new career opportunities. 

Not only will you benefit, but so will the children in your program. Through the training, exam, and reflection components, you’ll grow as a child care provider. You’ll have the skills to give the children in your care an even better jump start on their futures. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Now you know the answer to, “What is a CDA in child care?”

We’ve answered that question quite thoroughly — at least, we hope we did! To dive into all the intricacies of a CDA certification, we answered that initial question as well as a lot of other, supplementary ones. We went through the initial process of earning a CDA as well as the basics on how to renew the credential before it expires. Now, you should know how to set off on your CDA journey, what resources you’ll need, and how you’ll benefit once you achieve your CDA certification in Missouri. 

From “What is a CDA in child care?” to “How will I benefit form a CDA?” all your most pressing questions about this certification should have been addressed here. If not, we also directed you toward other resources to help you along the CDA process, and they’ll be more help than a simple blog post ever could be. 

You may have started out by asking, “What is a CDA in child care?” We hope you’ll end up earning that credential and spreading the wealth, explaining what a CDA in child care is to the next group of interested child care professionals.

The Top Benefits of Child Care Professional Training

Woman caring for a crawling boy in child care professional trainingWe live in a society that doesn’t always value child care professional training. There’s a pervasive cultural myth that child care providers are glorified babysitters and that pretty much anybody could do a fine job. That’s simply not true. Just like any other professional, child care providers need specialized training in order to do the best possible work.

Extra training isn’t the easiest sell for some people. It takes valuable time, and it might cost some money to get into certain training programs. However, those costs are definitely worth the end result. 

Here, we’ll try to convince you of that. We’ve broken the different benefits of child care professional training into the different groups it helps, detailing how each segment of the population has something to gain from increased training in whatever form that takes, from college courses to on-demand child care training. Those groups range from very specific, like parents and children, to very broad, like society at large. By the end, you should realize that everyone has something to gain from increased child care professional training.

Benefits to Child Care Facilities

Child care centers and other types of child care facilities might not see the immediate benefits of providing child care professional training for their employees. After all, if they were qualified enough to get the job, how much more training could they actually need?

Turns out, quite a lot.

Exceed Expectations

First of all, not all states have very strict requirements for the amount of training required for all entry-level child care workers. In Missouri, not all child care providers are required to have a license — namely, religious organizations and small, in-home child caregivers. The state of Missouri requires caregivers in licensed child care facilities to complete 12 clock hours of training each year. However, if you’re working in one of these license exempt settings, you’re not required to take the trainings that others are. So, a baseline qualification often doesn’t really cut it in terms of giving potential clients peace of mind. 

This is all to say that especially if you run a license-exempt operation, offering and encouraging more training can help you stand out from the pack. Just because it isn’t required by the state doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

Keeping Up with the Industry

Perhaps an even more important reason, though, is that the child care world is always changing. New research uncovers new best practices, and new data informs new rules and regulations. It’s important to keep up. Child care professional training is one of the best (and only) ways to make sure your staff is studying up on any new recommendations or methodologies. 

Attracting More Business

Keeping your staff well educated with child care professional training will also make your facility more attractive to parents looking for a trustworthy place to care for their children. We’ll talk more about how parents benefit from child care professional training in a little bit, but it’s worth mentioning here that parents definitely care about child care professionals’ backgrounds. If they’ve done their homework, they’ll likely ask about it before enrolling their children. Child care providers will want to have a good answer for their questions about the level of child care professional training offered to their staff. 

In-Person Trainings

So, this is all to say that it pays to have a well-trained staff, and making that training accessible to them is one way a child care center can increase the level of child care professional training among its workers. On-demand child care training definitely has its benefits and is appropriate in some settings, but one of the main benefits of child care professional training provided by a child care facility is that it can be in person. If you offer up your space to a seminar, then that makes getting hands-on training that much more accessible for your employees.

Benefits to Child Care Providers

Of course, one of the main benefits is compliance with the law. Missouri child care workers need to log 12 clock hours of training each year, and if you live in another state, you should definitely check out the requirements in your area. This is one area where on-demand child care training can be super helpful. In Missouri, you can go to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Childhood website and find various on-demand child care training courses you can take to count toward those annual hours. 

Increased Earning Potential 

Especially if you earn a prestigious form of child care certification or degree, you’ll qualify for higher paid positions, and you’ll have the leverage to negotiate a higher salary. The more training you’ve gotten, the more you’re potentially worth to a child care facility.

In addition to simple courses like on-demand child care training, you can go after well-respected certifications. One of those is the Child Development Associate Credential. It’s a fairly involved process, and although it’s not as accessible as something like a basic on-demand child care training class, it can definitely be attainable. Learn how we can help you earn your CDA here.

New Opportunities

How many new positions you become qualified for after you complete some training will largely depend on what kind of training it was, but the point stands that generally, the more knowledge you amass, the more different kinds of positions you can excel in.

Maybe you’ve been a child care worker for some time now, and you’re interested in moving into a different role in that sector. Gaining a new position will likely be a lot easier with the right kind of education under your belt. One on-demand child care training class isn’t going to change your life or your prospects, but it might open some doors to other types of experience you can get. 

Benefits to Children

How children benefit from child care professional training should be pretty obvious. We’ll explain it in detail anyway, though, because we’re nothing if not thorough.

School Readiness and Lifelong Success

When those kids get higher quality child care, they have a better chance at success. The best early childhood care will help young kids gain communication and social skills, early math and pre-literacy knowledge, and foster healthy brain development. They’ll also be more aware of the roles different people play in the world around them. Early childhood is a critical period in brain development, and making sure kids have access to highly trained professionals is a great way to set them up for later success.

These different benefits all work together, too. Child care workers who receive proper benefits from their employers, like continuing child care professional training, are less likely to leave. That reduced turnover rate will benefit the children in the program because they’re able to form bonds with the people caring for them. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, fostering responsive relationships between children and adults is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure healthy development. Providing the appropriate child care professional training is one way to help make sure that happens.

Increased Safety

Not only are kids who receive high quality care more ready for school and life beyond, they’re also safer. Of course, basic safety training is a requirement. Courses like CPR and sleep safe training are absolutely vital to ensuring children’s safety, and they shouldn’t be considered extra add-ons — they’re just necessary. However, there are also further classes you can take to increase the safety of your charges.

Even on-demand child care training can teach important safety practices for child care providers. While some things, like CPR, really benefit from an in-person practice component, others can be effectively taught through on-demand child care training. That makes for an accessible way to increase the education level of child care providers.

Safety is always of paramount importance. Children are safer when the people caring for them are more highly trained.

More Inclusivity

Some trainings are designed to broaden the capabilities of child care facilities and their workers. Child care providers can struggle to care for children with disabilities if they don’t have the proper tools, resources, and training. More child care workers taking part in courses that focus on the proper ways to care for children with different disabilities will mean more children will have access to care that works for them.

Benefits to Parents

Sending your child to a child care facility with highly trained professionals is going to give parents much greater peace of mind. And when parents don’t need to worry about the kind of care their children are receiving, then they can be more productive members of the workforce.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt for parents to check out on-demand child care training videos for themselves, either. Child care professional training might not be appropriate for them, but there are plenty of on-demand child care trainings that are relevant to parenting, too. Since they’re so readily accessible, they might be a good option for many parents looking to increase their knowledge and skills when it comes to caring for their children. Important skills like CPR and first aid fall under this umbrella. 

Parents often struggle to pay for child care. It’s notoriously expensive, and that leaves them in tough situations. They might have an easier time justifying the cost if they’re completely certain their children are receiving high-quality care, and training is a huge part of that.

Benefits to Society

Maybe this subheading seems a bit lofty. You might doubt the fact that a few on-demand child care training courses could actually have any meaningful impact on society at large. However, it’s a lot more than that. 

The positive impacts of child care professional training don’t stop at those who are directly influenced. A whole community can see the benefits of high quality child care professional training. 

Think about it. If child care workers are providing higher quality care, the children are better cared for, and their parents are more confident leaving them to go to work. You’ll get more productive workers that way. Plus, the workers of tomorrow will be better equipped to contribute meaningfully to society. Setting kids up for success at an early age is a great way to invest in the future of our society. 

So, maybe a few on-demand child care training classes don’t seem like much. But add up all those other benefits, and you’ll see just how impactful child care professional training can be.

Child care professional training has wide-reaching benefits.

As we’ve discussed, employing more highly trained child care workers is a benefit to everyone in a myriad of ways. Some child care centers might be reluctant to spend time and resources on training. However, as we explained, it’s definitely worth it for them, for their employees, for the children in their care, for those children’s parents, and for society at large. That’s a big burden to carry, but even something as simple as an on-demand child care training class can make a great step in the right the direction. 

And if you’re a child care worker whose employer doesn’t provide professional development, there are ways you can get more training without them, too. You’ll see more doors open for you, especially if you pursue one of the more well-respected and well-known certifications or degrees in the field. Children receiving that high-quality care will be better set up for success in the future, and their parents will be more comfortable leaving them and going to work. Society benefits from both of those things, getting a more productive and less worried worker today and a higher-quality worker in the future. 

That’s our high level summary of why it’s a great idea to make child care professional training more accessible. One way to do that is to pursue on-demand child care training, which can be a great option for a lot of different courses. Definitely look into your options to seek more training if you work in this field, or how to support those efforts if you don’t. We’ll all thank you for it.

9 Essential Kinds of Child Care Providers Training

A woman with a baby in child care providers trainingWe probably don’t have to tell you that child care providers training is one of the most vital ways of ensuring our children are well cared for. When child care providers have the appropriate knowledge and skills, they can use their expertise to provide the highest quality care for all the children they are charged with.

As such, many states require a certain number of child care providers training hours each year. In Missouri, you need to log 12 clock hours of approved child care providers training in order to remain a licensed caregiver. Not all of the types of child care providers training on this list will fulfill that requirement, but they are all programs that will make you a better child care provider, which is its own reward.

Some of the programs listed here are geared more toward getting you ready to start your career as a child care provider, while others are intended for those who are already established in the field. Skim through and identify which ones would best suit your needs, then you can use that as a jumping off point for the kinds of child care providers training that you want to pursue. We’ve included information about ways you can get help paying for some of these programs where appropriate, like a CDA scholarship (more on that later). 

Okay, with all those caveats out of the way, let’s get into it. Here are nine child care providers trainings that can help take your career to the next level.

1. CPR and First Aid

This is likely the most basic child care providers training course out there. CPR and First Aid classes are very common and very easy to find. Not only is it an essential child care providers training, but it’s also vital to many other types of positions. 

You’ll learn a lot of valuable skills in this type of course. By the end, you should be prepared to react in emergency situations and provide the right kind of care. There are special instructions when it comes to CPR for children and infants, so you should make sure the course you take covers those, too.

We decided to start with this one because it’s easily accessible, vitally important, and it’s also required by the state of Missouri. To count for those state requirements, the training must be conducted at least partially in person. You also have to take the training from one of the approved models (you can find the list here). 

CPR and First Aid training will count toward your annual clock hours as long as the person or organization that trains you was approved by the Section for Child Care Regulation. If you opt for a CPR and First Aid course that is partially online and partially in person, the online portion will not count toward those clock hours. 

2. Water Safety

Maybe you don’t anticipate being in the water in your child care job, but adding on water safety skills to your child care providers training can be a nice bonus. It might open up all kinds of other opportunities for you. Plus, it’s better to be over prepared than underprepared. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to watch children around a body of water, you’ll be glad you took this type of training, even if it seemed unnecessary at the time.

Much like CPR and First Aid training, this sort of course is not all that difficult to come by. You’ll learn how to reduce the risk of drowning as much as possible with a focus on young children, and you’ll learn various concepts and techniques for how to prevent a tragedy in the water. There’s also often an emphasis on applying these ideas and methods to common situations you might encounter. By the end of the training, you should be fairly confident in your abilities to keep children safe around pools and other bodies of water.

This probably isn’t the first training you think of or one of the first you should complete on your journey to becoming a child care provider, but it’s a nice one to add on, especially if your job involves water. This next kind of child care providers training, however, is one that’s absolutely essential.

3. Sleep Safe Training

The state of Missouri requires this type of course for child care facilities that are licensed to care for kids less than one year old. You’ll need to take this class once every three years to stay up-to-date on all the latest best practices. These will also count toward your yearly clock hours. There’s a list of approved providers that you can find here, if you’re interested.

In one of these trainings, you’ll learn all about how to keep infants safe while they’re sleeping. You’ll learn about the position they should be in (on their backs), what should be in the crib with them (essentially nothing), and all the other essential information on making sure babies are sleeping properly and with the lowest chance of harm.

In 2019, about 1,250 infants died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the United States, and another 960 died due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. In a sleep safe training course, you’ll learn best practices to prevent more avoidable infant deaths. We’ll talk about other child care providers training programs that are geared toward those caring for the youngest kids a little later, but a sleep safe training is a great place to start if you want to work with babies.

4. DHSS Online Training

This is less a type of child care providers training and more of a training resource. The Department of Health and Senior Services offers a variety of online courses to help you fulfill your clock hour requirements. They cover a range of topics — licensing, social and emotional health, poison safety, transportation, and more.

Even though these are completely online, they will count toward your yearly clock hours, and each course should tell you how many hours you’ll receive before you begin. There are quite a lot of rules and regulations regarding these, so make sure to read through them before you get started. All that information can be found here.

5. Youth Nutrition Specialist

Everybody has to eat, and making sure kids eat well is a key part of effective child care. Although these types of certifications are typically geared more toward existing nutritionists and health professionals, it can also be an addition onto your other child care providers training programs. You’ll learn about how to create nutritional plans and strategies for individual kids and all the things that go into that, which will support kids’ healthy growth. 

Unlike the CDA and CDA scholarship opportunities, which we’ll get into in more depth later, there aren’t very many financial aid options here. If you want to earn a degree in nutrition or a related field, that’s a bit of a different story. With just a certification, though, you’ll likely be on your own to cover the cost.

6. Certified Children’s Fitness Specialist

Much in the same vein as the youth nutrition specialist training, this one is not a required child care providers training, and it might not be one everyone’s interested in. Especially if you’re going to focus on caring for infants, fitness training might seem unnecessary to your career.

However, it might be a good add-on training if you’re passionate about getting kids moving. Childhood obesity affects one out of every five children and adolescents in the United States, making it a huge issue to tackle. This isn’t just a problem for older kids, either — the CDC’s most recent data shows that obesity affected 13.4 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds.

Again, like the nutrition certification, you’re probably going to have to pay for this one on your own. There are a lot of different organizations out there that provide this sort of training, though, and they come at various price points. Make it happen if your calling is increasing kids’ fitness levels.

7. Special Needs Care

Although this type of training isn’t required, it’s essential to making sure all children are cared for properly. There are a few options for this in Missouri. One is to look on the Missouri Workshop Calendar to find an inclusion specialist providing training, which will count toward your required clock hours. The other is to contact the inclusion specialist in your region and set up a session with them. That course will cost a small fee. The plus side, though, is that it’s so small most people shouldn’t have any trouble paying it and don’t need a program like a CDA scholarship. Which brings us to our next form of child care providers training…

8. CDA

One way to prove that you’ve had adequate child care providers training is by achieving your Child Development Associate (CDA). That’s a well-recognized credential that includes exam, observation, and portfolio components. We’ve been mentioning it and CDA scholarship opportunities throughout because it’s one of the most comprehensive child care providers trainings on this list. If you earn a CDA, you’ll be signaling to the world and your profession that you have the knowledge and skills to provide high-quality child care, and that you’re dedicated to your profession.

CDA Scholarships

If you need help paying for the program, you might be eligible for a CDA scholarship. The CDA costs $425 for an online application and $500 for a paper application, and that’s not including all the professional education hours you need to have completed before you ever submit an application. That can make it prohibitively expensive for some looking to break into the child care field. 

That’s why a CDA scholarship can be so beneficial. CDA scholarships are available through several different programs, and the CDA scholarship you opt to apply for will depend on how you want to earn those hours. Some states will offer a CDA scholarship to anyone who is income eligible, paying for some or all of your training, and potentially covering the assessment fee, as well. You should check with your state to see if you’d be a good candidate for their CDA scholarship program, if they have one.

If your state doesn’t have a CDA scholarship program, don’t let that stop you from achieving this designation. You should look into any other CDA scholarship options that might be available to you — reach out to your local child care resource and referral organization to get help.

9. Newborn Care Specialist Association Certification

This will be a helpful child care providers training if you want to work with infants. They require specialized care, so even if you’re great with slightly older children, it helps to familiarize yourself with their specific needs. That’s what this type of child care providers training accomplishes. 

To achieve this certification, you have to pass the exam set by the NCSA. To be able to do that, you’ll need to have taken the correct courses.

Unlike a CDA scholarship, an NCSA scholarship might come from the organization itself. You’ll need to contact them for more information about that, but if you can show that you need help paying for the training, the NCSA might offer you a scholarship.

Child care providers training is vital.

This list of potential training opportunities is far from exhaustive. There are nearly countless ways you can improve your abilities as a child care provider, and these are just a few of the most common, most important, and most accessible ones. We’ve taken you through opportunities that are quick classes and others that are intensive programs. We’ve also pointed out where you might have a good chance of getting help paying for those programs, like with a CDA scholarship. 

We definitely encourage you to do more research into any of these training courses that you think could advance your career or just make you a better child care provider. If you have any questions or need any resources, don’t be afraid to reach out to us here.

Careers in Early Child Development and Care

A baby playing with an early child development and care worker It’s no secret that affordable, quality child care can be hard to come by in the U.S. The facilities are often understaffed and overworked, and the costs can be difficult for families to keep up with. In spite of all this, many compassionate professionals feel drawn to the early child development and care industry. Whether they’ve always liked kids and just want to tap into those skills or they are ready to take on a new challenge, there’s plenty of opportunity in this field.

To get into the early child development and care space, there are certain steps you need to take. It’s a career path that requires specialized training, so you’ll need to complete some kind of program to prepare you for that. Some people decide to get bachelor’s or even master’s degrees in early child development and care or related fields. Others can’t spend the time and money to get a degree. 

If you’re in that second boat but would still like to start a career in child care, there are options for you. Earning a certificate in child care and education can open up that world to you in a much more attainable timeframe. Below, we’ve explained a little more about what that process looks like. Then, we’ll take you through the different ways you can put that certificate in child care and education to good use.

How to Get a Certificate in Child Care and Education

Earning this kind of certificate is an essential first step in pursuing a career in early child development and care. Many schools offer programs to earn these types of certificates. To find one, you’ll need to do some searching in your area. You might also have some luck finding an online option if the in-person courses around you are few and far between. These programs will also include an internship component. It’s a great way to gain some experience in this line of work while still learning the fundamentals. 

Careers in Early Child Development and Care

So, now that you know how to earn a certificate in child care and education, you’re ready to find the right career utilizing that training. The next step is exploring all your different options in this field. We’ll start you out with some information on a bunch of potential roles within this sphere. Then, you can go out and do your own research. The following list should help you find the right niche within the early child development and care space. 

Preschool Teacher

Let’s start with the obvious. Many people get a certificate in child care and education to teach in a preschool setting. However, this might not always qualify you for the role. Some preschools require their teachers to have associate or bachelor’s degrees. This isn’t the case in all schools, but if you really have your heart set on being a preschool teacher, a certificate in child care and education might not be your first choice. See if you can find any information about the requirements in your state before making a decision. 

However, this kind of certificate plus some experience in early child development and care can take you a long way. To get a bit of a better idea about what being a preschool teacher is like, let’s look at some of the different preschool environments you might want to work in.

Montessori Schools

While most preschools aren’t as structured as, say, a high school class (you won’t see many 3 year olds sitting quietly doing their math homework), this type of preschool is even looser than most. It prioritizes the child’s individual desires. The goal is to let the child lead — they’re allowed to decide what they’d like to do, and there’s little formal instruction. Teachers will literally and figuratively follow their students and try to support them that way.

The Montessori method is very popular, but it’s also not for everyone. Some people won’t thrive in that kind of unstructured environment. If that sounds like you, you should probably look into a different kind of early child development and care career.  

You will also need more training than just a certificate in child care and education to work in this kind of environment. To provide a true Montessori education, you’ll need to be well versed in the ins and outs of that whole philosophy. That’s where the extra training comes in. We singled out Montessori schools because it’s one of the most popular preschool philosophies, but there are other methods out there, too. Do some reading into the different mindsets toward early child development and care, and then you can pick the one that speaks the most to you.

If you strongly believe in this manner of educating youngsters, then it’s definitely worth a little more reading — plenty of people have written about the theory over the years. If this doesn’t sound up your alley, though, don’t worry. Keep reading for more places you can utilize your certificate in child care and education.

Religious Schools

Your comfort level with this sort of school will likely depend on your personal relationship with religion. The actual religious component of the curriculum will vary from preschool to preschool. Some include a lot of instruction about the particular views of the school, while others hardly mention it. 

Public and Private Schools

Obviously the above types of preschool programs can fit into either of these categories, so this might seem somewhat redundant. However, we wanted to talk about the differences between them in their own section.

Teachers at public preschools need to meet certain requirements set at the state level, while private preschool teachers are not held to those same standards. That’s probably the main thing you need to think about when pursuing a certificate in child care and education. There are other big differences for parents between these two categories (namely cost), but that’s not all that relevant here. 

Both public and private preschools can be good environments for those interested in working in early child development and care. You just need to make sure you have the right qualifications for the job.

Teaching Assistant

This sort of position is often more attainable for those without a degree in early child development and care. As a teaching assistant, you’ll be there as support for the main preschool teacher, who likely has some sort of degree in early child development and care or a related field. You’d likely help manage the classroom, but you’d also probably be needed to work with kids who require a little extra support for whatever reason.

Child Care Worker

Most people with a certificate in child care and education will opt for this sort of a job. It’s a wider age range than what a preschool covers, so if you’d rather care for kids younger than 3 years old, a child care worker job could be perfect for you. The designation “child care worker” covers a lot of different roles in a lot of different environments, so you’ll need to sift through your options carefully. Read on for some of the most common places child care workers are needed.

Family Child Care Homes

Most of us would balk at the idea of letting a bunch of kids into our homes and being tasked with their care, but other people find it a rewarding profession. One way to get involved in early child development and care is to open your home.

Keep in mind, though, that just because the care takes place in your home doesn’t mean there’s no oversight. States keep a close eye on home child care facilities and have very specific requirements they have to meet. A state inspector will periodically check up on your home child care business to make sure everything’s going according to their guidelines.

Child Care Centers

A setting like this is going to be much bigger than an operation run out of your home. Child care centers typically have a larger staff, a larger building, and a larger amount of children to take care of. The kids are usually divided up into rooms by age, and child care workers are often assigned to one group. So, for example, the child care center might have kids from newborns to 5 years old, but you might only work in the infant room.

Head Start and Early Head Start

You’ve probably heard of these before. They’re government-funded programs that include preschool and child care for low-income families, but their services go far beyond that. Getting parents involved is an important part of this program. Early Head Start is for children under age 3, and Head Start is for children ages 3 to 5.

Vacation and Summer Child Care Programs

Since our focus is on early child development and care, we won’t spend too much time on these. They’re mostly meant for school-age children. However, some places will also have options for younger kids, too. 

This kind of seasonal work might complement other ways you use your certificate in child care and education. Or, it might be the only thing you do with early child development and care, and you work in a different field for the rest of the year. The activities and duties here are much the same as they are in other child care programs. The difference is just the time of year.

Care in the Family’s Home

You as the child care worker would go to the child’s home and care for them there. This type of child care work is not regulated, so you might not even need a certificate in child care and education to start this sort of job. However, the parents you work for will likely want to know that you’re a competent caregiver, so it won’t hurt. 


Now we’re getting into the less well-known areas of the early child development and care industry. Most people probably associate tutors with older students having trouble with their geometry homework, but preschool-aged children can absolutely benefit from tutors, too. 

Early childhood tutors are mostly focused on getting their students ready for kindergarten. They work to teach those important skills on an individual basis, and they track their students’ progress. This could be a good option for you and your certificate in child care and education if you prefer working with individual students rather than running a whole classroom. It might also be a good supplement to other forms of work.

Personal Care Aide

Again, this career being in the early child development and care space might come as a surprise. Most personal care aides assist the elderly, but some children with special needs also require this kind of assistance. A certificate in child care and education might be enough qualification to jump into this career. 

As a personal care aide, you’d be helping take care of a child’s basic needs. When their parents are busy or too overwhelmed to handle it themselves, you’ve got them covered. The goal is often to get the family ready to join a more formal education setting. If you’d like to work one-on-one with kids that need some extra care, this could be a great career option for you.

There are so many opportunities in the early child development and care field.

The need for child care is not going away any time soon, so if you’re interested in one or more of the niches we’ve listed here, go ahead and jump in. Once you’ve earned a degree or a certificate in child care and education, you’ll have plenty of options in this space. 

If you’d rather work with kids one-on-one, then becoming a tutor, personal care aide, or even a teaching assistant can bring you opportunities for that kind of work. If you’d rather work with a large group, however, managing a classroom as a preschool teacher or a child care worker could be right up your alley. Consider the age range you’d be most comfortable working with, and also read up on the different types of preschool education methods to find one that speaks to you.

Think it through, do some more research, see what the regulations and requirements are like in your area, and then dive right in. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you get started.