The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential process, basic requirements include 480 of working in the setting of your credential, 120 Clock Hours of formal educational training meeting the CDA Credential Criteria, CPR/First Aid, Junior or Senior In High School, or with a High School Diploma (equivalence). Ideally this would be on your goal list of personal or professional achievements. However, we all know it generally does not work this way. As a matter of fact early care and learning practitioners are still unsure what the CDA Credential is exactly. I am often asked by our day one colleagues through our state administrative teams what exactly is the CDA Credential? Understanding you may have recently found out this is a criteria you must achieve to maintain your employment here are a few steps you can take to effectively manage your time.
1. Create a deadline for yourself - While the CDA Credential may not have been on your list of planned professional goals, you may still need to complete to ensure you are successful in meeting your human resource goals. This may be a good starting deadline for many. Locating a program that will help meet your established date of completion is key. Some people choose to enroll in a CDA Training program. This can be done with your local technical colleges, with a early learning and care training company in your community, online using a stand alone training program or with a program like TIPS for Child Care Institute providing a blended learning experience with a live instructor and firm deadlines online or face to face. It is important to ask about the out of class commitment for you to be successful in the program you or your agency has enrolled you in this may vary per program. It is important for your personal time management to find out 3 things prior to beginning your program: (1). What is your Human Resource Completion Deadline? (2.) How long can you be in the program you have joined? (3). Does the program you have choosen allow for extensions and is there a fee for this?
2. Purchase an at a glance calendar with entry daily journal - The second thing you want to do to support your time management goals is to purchase a calendar. On your calendar document the days of the week you will be committing to your CDA Credential training goals, the date of your portfolio organization and your exam and PDS Visit goal date. If you are using a stand-a-lone program (self paced classes) you would divide the number of hours by number of weeks or months you have to complete your goals. Set yourself a goal to complete by your Human Resource deadline (you may want to create your completion deadline a month prior to your Human Resource goals). If you are using a program where you will be with a live instructor create your time management days based on this date. If you are using a program with a set end date you will need to mark your calendar to reflect your live class day and time, and then the day(s) of the week you will commit to out of class course work.
3. Set aside time to join into class and/or complete out of class course assignments - although you may earn hours using your in-service hours many people require additional hours to meet the 120 Clock Hour criteria. You will want to set time aside weekly to complete activities, collect resources, writing statements and out of class demonstration activities where applicable. Please be sure to put a support system in place if you need a sitter or a ride to the library.
4. Map out the time you will need for each component. Be sure to take time to journal how long it takes you to complete each component. If it is self paced course work it may take 1-6 hour per session. If it is with a live instructor it may take 1-4 hours that day. Please learn your program and map your time out to completion. To accurately take control of your time management you may want to probe and find out how long an assignment will take, mark your calendar with the times you will be working on these component.
Once you have placed the proper time management systems in place, it is important to recognize it is a personal commitment to complete any program. It is also an extension of your professional responsibility if you are enrolling to meet your Human Resource goals. Contact your instructor if you cannot make it to class, inform your supervisor of your progress, contact the self paced program if you are having challenges with their systems these are examples of how to maintain your commitment to professionalism. Remember "When you fail to plan out your time someone else will plan it for you". - anonymous
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