Training and Professional Development | Child Care VA (2023)

A skilled and well-trained workforce is essential to providing high-quality early care and education services to children and their families. Through professional development, child care providers acquire knowledge and skills needed to plan and implement quality early learning experiences. If you are a child care provider looking for professional development opportunities, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) collaborates with partners to provide training opportunities throughout the state for child care providers in both classroom-based and distance learning formats. VDOE offers a variety of training, education, and resources to help you earn the continuing education and training needed to be successful in the early childhood and school-age care workforce which are described here.

Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff - Virginia's Health and Safety Training Course

Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff - 10 hour course

This free On Demand orientation course provides an overview of basic health and safety requirements and best practices in ten of the topic areas outlined in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Re authorization; and was specifically created for professionals who work with children and families in Virginia.

This free 10-hour course was created to introduce child care staff to important health and safety information critical for professionals to know for working in a child care setting. The Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff, sponsored by the Department of Education, is required for prospective vendors to complete prior to approval as a Subsidy Vendor. Once the program is an approved vendor, current staff that work directly with children shall complete this training within 90 days of the program becoming a Subsidy Vendor. New staff hired, that work directly with children, shall complete this training within 90 days of employment.

Effective October 13, 2021 this course is also required for staff who work in Licensed Child Day Centers and shall be completed within 90 days of employment.

The free, 10-hour course covers the following topics:

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  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease
  • Food and Allergic Reactions
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma
  • Safe Sleep and SUIDS Prevention
  • Safe Spaces
  • Transportation Safety
  • Handling and Storage of Hazardous Materials
  • Medication Safety
  • Inclusion of All Children
  • Healthy Teeth for Children
  • Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Foundations of Child Development and Approaches to Learning
  • Introduction to Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program and Benefits of Program Licensure

To access the course, click on the following "Start Training" link. If you already have an account with Better Kid Care, sign in to On-Demand, and select "Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff" at the bottom of the alphabetical listing. If you have not used Better Kid Care" website before, you will need to register as a new user first, and then choose the Virginia Preservice Training from the alphabetical listing.

Start Training

Virginia Training Course Flyer

If you have any issues accessing the training, please contact call the Better Kid Care HELP line at (800) 452-9108.

The Virginia Health and Safety Update Training

This free On Demand annual health and safety update training is a follow-up to the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff training. This training course is required for all staff that work directly with children in a child care program (center-based and family) that participates in the Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program (aka subsidy vendors). This training is to be taken annually, with the first update completed within one year after completing the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff.

Guidance on how to be in compliance for the Virginia Annual Health and Safety Update Training for Child Care Staff:

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  • For a person who completed the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff in 2021, they will complete the Virginia Annual Health and Safety Update Training for Child Care Staff within one year of taking the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff. Example: If a person completed the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff on June 13, 2021, they shall complete this update training by June 12, 2022.

Start Training

Annual Virginia Health and Safety Update Training Information Flyer

The Virginia Department of Education partners with Pennsylvania State University's Better Kid Care Program to bring this course to you. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have any issues accessing the training, please contact Better Kid Care HELP Line at (800) 452-9108.

Are there Scholarships to Help Me Pay for Education?

The Virginia Child Care Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance to child care providers to obtain foundational knowledge and skills in the care and development of children at a Virginia college or university. This program is funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund and allows early educators to take undergraduate courses. To learn more about this program visit

The Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children (VAAEYC) is an organization that acts and speaks on behalf of all young children in Virginia. The organization has established an annual scholarship project to assist providers working with young children to obtain their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential as well as other scholarships. VAAEYC will reimburse half of the direct assessment credentialing fee, or half of the renewal fee paid by candidates.

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Project Pathfinders is administered by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to increase the skills of early childhood professionals by accessing community college coursework and credentials. All applications must be submitted through their online system.

MAT Training Program - Medication Administration Training Program

The MAT Program trains and certifies Virginia child day program providers and private school employees to safely give medications to children (ages infant through high school graduation) in their care. The MAT Program does not certify providers who work in a residential care setting or who provide care for adults.

First Aid / CPR Free Training

Child Care Aware provides First Aid and CPR training on behalf of the Virginia Department of Education. There is no cost to Child Care Providers that participate in the Child Care Subsidy program or provide child care for infants and toddlers. More information about Free Child Care Provider Trainings

Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

Better Kid Care Directors’ Training

Better Kid Care offers lessons designed specifically to address the professional development needs of center directors with content on program leadership and administration. Better Kid Care Directors’ Training

Classroom-Based Courses

Virginia’s Community Colleges offer short term certificate programs and 2-year Associate Degrees in Early Childhood Development.

  • Early Childhood Certificate
    A certificate is a short term educational program consisting of a minimum of 30 semester hours.
  • Early Childhood Development Degrees
    The Virginia Community Colleges offer an Associate of Applied Science degree for child care providers.

Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners

Virginia Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners is a resource that recognizes the hours of informal training, formal education and credentials of practitioners in the field of early childhood and school-age care.

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The purpose of the Career Pathways is to help practitioners plan their training, education and career development goals so they may be well-prepared to educate, nurture and meet the needs of young children and their families.

Other Training and Development Opportunities

Child Abuse and Neglect – Recognizing, Reporting and Responding for Educators
This training module prepares Virginia teachers who are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

Child Care Aware of Virginia
CCA of Virginia offers a variety of professional development opportunities for professionals that include training sessions that can be used to obtain a CDA credential or as in-service training hours; offered in-person or online.

Preparedness for Child Care Providers
This course from FEMA will provide child care providers, in a variety of settings, with the information they need to identify, assess, and plan for hazards at their child care site.

First Aid and CPR
The American Red Cross offers training in First Aid, CPR, and/or AED.

Virginia Early Intervention eLearning Center - Social Emotional Development of Young Children
The VA EI eLearning Center is designed to provide practitioners with high quality, interactive professional development on early intervention topics. Each module is available as a free resource and results in a certificate of completion.

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Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA)
CCWA, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, offers childcare provider training classes to support the professional development and training needs of the early care and education workforce across the state. Effective July 1, 2021, VDOE will offer two free online classes: Health Screening for Childcare Professionals, and Child Abuse and Neglect: Recognition and Reporting.

Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network (VA ITSN)
The VA ITSN offers a variety of professional development opportunities, both virtually and in-person, for professionals caring for infants and toddlers (0-36 months). Follow-up support after attending a VA ITSN training and support to earn a credential, certificate or endorsement are also available.


Why is professional development important for early childhood educators? ›

Professional development helps early childhood professionals in all roles progress along diverse career pathways that build and reward increasing knowledge and skills.

What are the 8 subject areas you may receive training in CDA? ›

CDA Subject Areas
  • 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.

What's your greatest strength as a childcare educator? ›

Example: "My greatest strength is my ability to think creatively and come up with exciting ways to deliver learning outcomes to children. Applying this strength helps keep young children engaged and encourages them to have a positive attitude toward learning.

What does professional development mean in childcare? ›

This describes the activities you undertake to develop your abilities and understanding in your professional role. It refers to everything you do to improve your skills, remind yourself of things you have forgotten and update your current knowledge and understanding.

Why is training and professional development important? ›

Attending professional development courses will increase your expertise in your field and, as a result, build confidence in the work you do. This confidence will carry over into the classroom when you come back to your students and share what you learned.

What are the 4 different areas of a CDA? ›

About the CDA
  • Subject Area 1: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment.
  • Subject Area 2: Advancing children's physical and intellectual development.
  • Subject Area 3: Supporting children's social and emotional development.
  • Subject Area 4: Building productive relationships with families.
Oct 13, 2022

What are the six competency of the CDA? ›

The student is a competent organizer, planner, record keeper, communicator, and a cooperative co- worker. theories and practices, promotes quality in child care services and takes advantage of opportunities to improve competence, both for personal and professional growth and for the benefit of children and families.

How do you pass CDA? ›

How to Pass the CDA Test
  1. Gain experience working with children and parents in a school or day-care setting. ...
  2. Enroll in classes at a local community college or university of your choice. ...
  3. Purchase a CDA Test Preparation book and review the contents.

What are the three C's in early childhood? ›

Based on her extensive experience in early childhood education, Patricia A. Dischler bridges the gap and demonstrates how incorporating the three Cs—creativity, curiosity, and courtesy—into classroom instruction can support the development of academic skills.

What are the two most important qualities in a childcare program to you? ›

5 Qualities of A Good Childcare Provider
  • Patience : Patience is the most important quality a childcare provider should have. ...
  • Communication skills : Having strong communication skills is an essential trait to be successful as a childcare provider. ...
  • Positive regard for kids : ...
  • Energy : ...
  • Proper training :

What are the three prime areas in childcare? ›

The 3 prime areas:
  • communication and language.
  • physical development.
  • personal, social and emotional development.
Sep 1, 2021

What motivates you in childcare? ›

Witness children growth and development

It's an opportunity to watch children grow and develop into confident, self-sufficient learners. For many childcare teachers in the field, it's the realization of a long-held ambition.

What motivates you to work in childcare? ›

Having a meaningful impact on people's lives

“I love that I can help support other parents by caring for their children while they work or study, and at the same time I'm able to nurture children and offer so many great learning experiences to them.”

What are your top 3 strengths answers? ›

Some examples of strengths you might mention include:
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Trustworthiness.
  • Creativity.
  • Discipline.
  • Patience.
  • Respectfulness.
  • Determination.
  • Dedication.

What are examples of professional development? ›

Professional Development Examples
  • Continuing Education.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Research.
  • Improve job performance.
  • Increased duties and responsibilities.
  • Approaches to professional development:
  • Skill Based Training.
  • Job Assignments.

What are the 5 areas of professional development? ›

5 professional development opportunities employees want
  • Management and leadership training. ...
  • Professional certifications. ...
  • Technical skills training. ...
  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills training. ...
  • Employer-subsidized degrees.

What is professional development in simple words? ›

In education, the term professional development may be used in reference to a wide variety of specialized training, formal education, or advanced professional learning intended to help administrators, teachers, and other educators improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness.

What is the most important part of professional development? ›

Setting goals

One of the most important things you can do for your professional development is set goals for yourself. Your goals give you a path and a purpose in your career. Your department may have goals for the team and your company can have overarching goals that drive business decisions and strategy.

What is the most important aspect of training and development? ›

Training and development helps companies gain and retain top talent, increase job satisfaction and morale, improve productivity and earn more profit. Additionally, businesses that have actively interested and dedicated employees see 41 percent lower absenteeism rates, and 17 percent higher productivity.

How many questions does the CDA have? ›

What can I expect on the CDA Exam? The CDA Exam has 65 multiple-choice questions – 60 questions and 5 scenario questions (with a short narrative and photo). The Candidate will have up to one hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam.

What are the 3 settings for which a CDA is awarded? ›

Remember that there is a CDA® credential for four different settings to conveniently suit your professional goals in early childhood education: For center-based programs there is an Infant/Toddler CDA® and a Preschool CDA®, the Family Child Care CDA® (for children from birth to five years), and the Home Visitors CDA® ( ...

What are 3 of the 8 subject areas you may receive training in CDA? ›

The CDA standards identify 8 subject areas:
  • 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.

What are the 4 basic competencies? ›

Understanding the four stages of competency allows you to effectively employ strategies to move rapidly from one stage to the next.
  • Unconscious incompetence. ...
  • Conscious incompetence. ...
  • Conscious competence. ...
  • Unconscious competence.
Jul 21, 2022

What are the 3 standard competencies? ›

Competencies are defined at three levels of attainment: Level 1 – knowledge and understanding Level 2 – application of knowledge and understanding Level 3 – reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge.

What are the 3 core leader competencies? ›

On the right are the core leader competencies you'll read about in this section—leading, developing, and achieving.

What is a passing grade for CDA exam? ›

What Score Do I Need to Pass the CDA Exams? Each of the CDA exams is scored on a scale of zero to 100. You'll need to earn a 70 or higher to pass a CDA test. Scores are reported quickly, with most candidates becoming credentialed within one to three days after passing their test.

What to expect on the CDA exam? ›

The test includes 65 multiple-choice questions, which includes five scenario questions where a short narrative is required, and candidates have up to an hour and 45 minutes to complete it. You can take the exam at a testing center near you. CDA Exams are provided through the Council's partner, Pearson VUE.

Do you have to pass the CDA exam? ›

Since you completed 120 clock hours of training in order to get your CDA, you should have the knowl- edge you will need to successfully pass the CDA exam.

What are the 3 children's basic needs? ›

Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.

What are three characteristics of quality childcare? ›

Characteristics of quality
  • Settings that are safe and provide small group sizes and adult-to-child ratios encouraging the best opportunities for development;
  • Caregivers or teachers who have experience and are trained in early childhood development;
  • Settings that offer opportunities for meaningful parent involvement;

What skills can you improve in childcare? ›

Skills and qualities of childcare workers.
  • Be creative and imaginative.
  • Able to plan and deliver activities that are stimulating and interesting to the children you are working with.
  • Be a 'get-up-and-go' type of person as well as being eager and having a caring attitude.
Mar 17, 2022

What are professional strengths in childcare? ›

Childcare workers need good speaking skills to provide direction or information effectively and good listening skills to understand parents' instructions. Decision-making skills. Good judgment is necessary for childcare workers so they can respond to emergencies or difficult situations. Interpersonal skills.

How would you help support a child's development and learning? ›

making sure children can repeat experiences. giving children time and opportunity to develop their skills.
Having access to different learning environments is crucial to:
  1. encouraging children's motivation and an enthusiasm for learning.
  2. developing skills.
  3. building confidence and self esteem.
  4. developing emotional wellbeing.

What are the 7 areas of learning in childcare? ›

Areas of learning
  • communication and language.
  • physical development.
  • personal, social and emotional development.
  • literacy.
  • mathematics.
  • understanding the world.
  • expressive arts and design.

What are the four main development parts of children? ›

Children grow and develop rapidly in their first five years across the four main areas of development. These areas are motor (physical), language and communication, cognitive and social/emotional.

How do you usually handle misbehaving children? ›

10 healthy discipline strategies that work
  1. Show and tell. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. ...
  2. Set limits. ...
  3. Give consequences. ...
  4. Hear them out. ...
  5. Give them your attention. ...
  6. Catch them being good. ...
  7. Know when not to respond. ...
  8. Be prepared for trouble.
Nov 5, 2018

What should I say in a childcare interview? ›

Operational and Situational questions
  • What do you like most about working with children?
  • What do you like least about working with children?
  • What age groups do you prefer to work with?
  • Describe a time you resolved an issue with an unhappy parent.
  • What's the relationship between customer service and child care?

Why do you want to work in childcare best answer? ›

Example answer: Your commitment to inspiring a life-long love of learning resonates with me. Children form their attitudes to education early, and I'd like to be part of the reason they want to know more about the world around them.

What is your greatest strength in childcare? ›

Strengths As a Child-Care Worker
  • Nurturing Abilities. Teaching kids how to interact with others is an integral part of a child-care worker's responsibility and is best achieved by serving as a positive role model. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Vigilance. ...
  • Physical Stamina.

What attracts you to working with children? ›

I learn from the children I'm working with every day!

Honesty. Creativity. Flexibility. Resilience.

Why do I love working with children? ›

Working with children reminds you of how amazing and exciting the world can be. You'll love seeing things from their eyes. It makes you a happier and more positive person in your day-to-day life. Children also encourage you to use your imagination and find new creative ways to do things!

What can you bring to the company? ›

How to (and how not to) answer the interview question 'What can you bring to the company? ' The simple answer to this question is you : you bring all of your skills, qualities, values, interests, academic knowledge, internships and life experience to the company.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

How do you handle pressure? ›

Top tips to deal with pressure
  1. Understand your pressures. Think about all of the pressures you have. ...
  2. Get organised. Organising your time can help you feel more in control. ...
  3. Take it slowly. ...
  4. Vary your tasks. ...
  5. Accept things you cannot change.

How many sections are there in CDA? ›

Professional Education - 120 clock hours of education (instruction) in the 8 CDA Subject Areas (at least 10 hours in each area) specific to the credential type they are applying for.

How many CDA functional areas are there? ›

The thirteen Functional Areas describe the major responsibilities and objectives early care professionals must complete and understand in order to carry out the CDA Competency Standards.

What are the nine learning experiences for CDA? ›

Your Nine Activities Will Cover These Areas:
  • RCII-1 Science/Sensory,
  • RCII-2 Language & Literacy,
  • RCII-3 Creative Arts,
  • RCII-4 Fine Motor (Indoor Activity),
  • RCII-5 Gross Motor (Outdoor Activity),
  • RCII-6 Self Concept,
  • RCII-7 Emotional Skills/Regulation,
  • RCII-8 Social Skills, and.
Aug 24, 2022

How many questions are on the CDA test? ›

What can I expect on the CDA Exam? The CDA Exam has 65 multiple-choice questions – 60 questions and 5 scenario questions (with a short narrative and photo). The Candidate will have up to one hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam.

How long is a CDA good for? ›

A CDA credential is valid for 3 years from the award date. Please note: You must renew your CDA credential before it expires. Make sure to prepare in advance and be ready to submit a complete application with supporting documents when your renewal window opens.

What is the CDA exam like? ›

The CDA test is a computer-based test that's administered at a Pearson VUE testing center. It consists of 65 questions, including 60 simple multiple choice questions and five scenario-based multiple choice questions. Candidates have one hour and 45 minutes to complete the test.

What are three levels of CDA? ›

The thematic content analysis approach was used to investigate the text by adopting Fairclough's (1989) three-dimension framework of critical discourse analysis (CDA): textual analysis (description), process analysis (interpretation), and social analysis (explanation).

Is a CDA the same as an associate's degree? ›

Connections to Higher Education.

These skills can help pave the way towards a post-secondary certificate or degree. However, a CDA is not equivalent to a bachelor or associate degree, and not all Minnesota colleges accept the CDA as eligible for credits.

What are the four main functional areas? ›

Functional areas
  • marketing.
  • human resources.
  • operations.
  • finance.

What is an example of a CDA competency statement? ›

I establish and maintain a safe, healthy, learning environment. As an educator in the Early Childhood field I will establish and maintain a safe environment for the children in my care. I do this by providing an environment for the children that is free from harmful items.

What are the 4 caregiving routines that become curriculum for infants and toddlers? ›

Caregiving routines: Arrival, feeding or eating, diapering or toileting, sleeping, departure, etc. Transitions: Times of change that occur in a child's day, such as snack to outdoor play.

What are the three types of learning experiences? ›

Types of learning experiences include group experiences either in-person or online/distance learning, individual experiences with self-study products, and blended experiences that include elements of both group and individual learning experiences.


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