Baker College of Auburn Hills launches CDA prep program for preschool educators

Baker College of Auburn Hills is launching a new certificate program in the fall quarter that helps preschool educators prepare for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential assessment process administered by the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA Credential is becoming more often required for employment in the preschool education field.

The new Baker College program, named CDA academic foundations, is designed for educators affiliated with Head Start and Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), teacher aides and some home learning providers. Classes begin Monday, Sept. 29.

Graduates of the Baker College program will have completed the Council’s criteria related to educational training and a professional portfolio. The remaining criteria are satisfied by the student through professional experience in the field and passage of the CDA Credential exam given by the Council.

“Baker College’s new certificate program will guide students as they navigate the system to obtain the Council’s CDA credential,” said Natalie Campbell, Baker College of Auburn Hills program director of early childhood education (ECE). “We understand the importance of early learning and recognize the commitment individuals make to the teaching profession. This program is designed to make the most of a teaching professional’s time.”

The program consists of seven classes that can be completed in three quarters. The evening classes allow professionals who work full time during the day to pursue this program.

The ECE advisory boards at several Baker College campuses across the state identified the strong need for the new program. The advisory boards, consisting of faculty members and practicing ECE professionals, help identify industry employment trends that Baker College considers when planning curriculum. Factors that led to their recommendation to create the CDA academic foundations program were:

*Ongoing training, including the CDA Credential and associate and bachelor’s degrees, is criteria for gaining a higher rating in the Michigan Department of Education’s quality rating and improvement system.

*There is an increasing number of GSRP classrooms, which require a teacher aide to have a CDA Credential.

*There are fiscal incentives for preschool and child learning educators and some home learning providers to obtain CDA credentials.

*There is a shortage of consultants that provide the education and advice necessary to help preschool professionals obtain the CDA Credential.

Campbell and ECE program directors from other Baker College campuses developed the curriculum for the CDA academic foundations program, which will be offered this fall at Baker College campuses in Muskegon, Auburn Hills, Jackson and Flint.

For more information, contact Nicole Chirco in the admissions office at 248.340.0600 or Nicole.Chirco@baker.edu. Students may also schedule an appointment via the Baker College website: www.baker.edu. Students in the CDA academic foundations program are eligible to apply for part-time financial aid from Baker College and the Michigan T.E.A.C.H. program.

More information about the CDA Credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition is at www.CDACouncil.org.
Head Start is a federally funded preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds. GSRP is a state government-funded preschool program for 4-year-olds.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a nonprofit higher education institution, serving more than 35,000 students on 12 campuses and in three satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration. As a career college, the Baker College system is pleased to report that 97 percent of its available graduates are employed. For more information about Baker College, please check out our website at www.baker.edu.