CDA Cornerstones Program
By Mary Mills, Director of Early Childhood Cornerstones Program
What is CDA?
CDA stands for Child Development Associate and is the best first step that individuals can take to work effectively with children and families. As of July 2019, all lead teachers at Louisiana Type III childcare centers must obtain CDA coursework from a BESE-Approved program. BESE is the state’s governing body for educational institutions. Earning your CDA can expand your career potential and ensure individuals have the tools and skills necessary to become an effective educator.
What is the CDA Cornerstones Program?
The Center for Development and Learning offers Child Development Associate coursework through our Cornerstones program, which is a BESE-Approved Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate option. The Ancillary Certificate is a type of teacher certification offered through the Louisiana Department of Education. Cornerstones utilizes online course work, weekly live webinars, and onsite coaching visits. One of the great advantages of the Cornerstones program is that it allows early childhood professionals to complete their program requirements while they continue to work full time. In addition to the flexibility, the Cornerstones program could be completed at no cost to the participants through a specified scholarship program.
We recently invited one of our outstanding candidates, Moriah Jarrell, to speak with us about her experience in the Cornerstones program. Moriah completed our program this past July. During this interview, we discussed her overall involvement within the program and how it will play a role in her future career plans. Below is the transcript of a series of questions and answers from our interview.
Q: Which elements of the Cornerstones program did you like best?
Moriah: I think I liked the meetings the best – the coaching visits when you would come to the classroom for the monthly assessment. I liked them best because they helped me to really grow as a teacher. I used to be nervous about being assessed, but I now look at it as a way to grow and learn.
Q: What impact do you see the Cornerstones program having on your future career goals?
Moriah: I feel like it helped me to learn more hands-on and be able to implement the things I learned into the classroom. The way [you all] presented the information was easy to understand, which made it easier to implement. It also motivated me to further my career in early childhood education.
Q: Please share your overall thoughts on the program.
Moriah: Overall, the program made us work really hard to achieve our goals. The course and assignments were easy to understand and very helpful. I also really loved having my coach come into the classroom. I enjoyed having you in the classroom modeling appropriate practices and just being there supporting me.
Q: How do you think this program benefited the students you work with?
Moriah: I think they really loved it. It gave me more of a creative look on things. I was able to create more interactive and engaging lesson plans, which they really enjoyed. I was able to conduct more back and forth conversations as their language development enhanced. We were able to have meaningful conversations.
The Cornerstones program through the Center for Development and Learning is a comprehensive early childhood education program offered to teachers working in early learning centers. A team of experienced early childhood professionals collaborate with the Louisiana Department of Education and early childcare centers to ensure the delivery of a high-quality program experience. Cornerstones provides teachers with both a theoretical understanding and hands-on application of best practices.
Director of Early Childhood Cornerstones Program