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Initial and ongoing training improves your program as you increase your skills and apply new information to your work with young children.
Initial training often happens before starting work as a child care provider or at the very least before you provide direct care to children without supervision. Initial training should cover health and safety and child development information at a minimum. Some states have requirements for training programs and hours that child care providers must fulfill before obtaining their license or working with children. Check with your state licensing requirements to find out how much training is required. Child Care Aware's State by State Resource Map provides you with direct links to the office in your state that is responsible for child care licensing. In addition to initial training for all staff in your program, you will want to be sure that they receive an orientation to your program policies and procedures.
Aside from your orientation and any required trainings, initial preparation can include:
Annual training reviews and reinforces child care best practices and helps you learn new information and skills. Annual training should cover the following topics:
Some states have requirements for annual training or for training hours required to renew or maintain a child care license. Check with your state licensing regulations to learn more about what your state requires. Additional information about health and safety training can be found here.
Child Care Aware® of America recommends that all child care providers be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of initial training in child development and guidance and other basic health and safety practices prior to working alone with children. Family child care providers should have this training before opening their doors to unrelated children. Child Care Aware® of America recommends that all child care providers be required to complete at least 24 hours of annual training that will lead to a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
The Council for Professional Recognition awards the CDA Credential to individual child care providers in both child care centers and family child care homes. After completing 120 hours of required formal training in eight content areas, candidates must pass the CDA Competency Goals assessment. Additional information from the Council for Professional Development is at www.cdacouncil.org.
Most Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies offer training or can guide you to training sources. Find your local CCR&R agency by contacting Child Care Aware toll-free at 1(800) 424-2246.
Additional sources for training include professional organizations such as local affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Zero to Three, and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), community colleges, local colleges and universities, social service and health agencies, private organizations and other child care programs.