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VLS CDA Resources

The Virtual Lab School encourages participation in accreditation entities that support programs and caregivers in providing the best care possible to children and families. The information and resources on this page will assist direct care staff in their preparation and application for the Child Development Associate Credential.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, administered by the Council for Professional Recognition, is a nationally recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and a critical first step on the path to higher education and career advancement. The CDA is centered around a core set of competency standards that guide educators' practices and work with young children. The CDA Credential requires the completion of 120 professional development training hours on developmentally appropriate practices, development of the CDA Professional Portfolio, demonstration of knowledge by completing the CDA Exam, and an observation and reflective dialogue with a Council-approved CDA Professional Development Specialist.

VLS CDA Activity Guide

The CDA Professional Portfolio is comprised of a variety items and resources that illustrate a candidate’s knowledge of child development and support their future practice as a professional in the field. The CDA Resource Collection Items and Reflective Statements of Competence make up a significant portion of a candidate’s CDA Professional Portfolio. The VLS has intentionally embedded the required Resource Collection Items and Reflective Statements of Competence as Explore or Apply activities within foundational courses to assist CYP professionals in assembling their CDA Professional Portfolio. View the list of CDA activities and resources by track/course here:

VLS Infant Toddler CDA Activity Guide VLS Preschool CDA Activity Guide VLS Family Child Care CDA Activity Guide

Assembling the CDA Professional Portfolio

The CDA Professional Portfolio is a reflective experience that is required by candidates to obtain the CDA Credential. This portfolio is comprised of various items including materials from the CDA Competency Standards book, Reflective Statements of Competence, related Resource Collection items, and the candidate’s Professional Philosophy Statement.

Assembling Your CDA Portfolio

Additional CDA Resources: