How can I get a Child Development Associate credential at ReadyKids?

The CDA is a widely recognized, national credential in early childhood education. The ReadyKids CDA is a self-paced study program for early childhood educators to obtain the CDA credential.  It is designed for adults working in child care settings who want to further their education but may not choose or have access to use online CDA classes, or who do not wish to enroll in community college classes. The CDA meets Head Start standards, and the criteria for Level 2 lead teachers at Virginia Quality programs.

CDA subject areas include:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment for young children
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning

Additional information about the CDA can be found at

ReadyKids staff are available to support you in completing all aspects of the CDA program!  Our Specialist provides guidance on all the steps CDA candidates will need to take to qualify for credentialing. These steps include completion of training modules, developing a professional resource file, distributing parent questionnaires, writing competency statements, and preparing for an observation visit and exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

To participate, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older and hold a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Be currently employed or volunteering in a child care center or family day home
  • Attend at least one class per month and complete required assessments

What is the cost to enroll?

  • If you are employed by an early childhood program that participates in Valley Region Virginia Quality, the classes are provided at no cost. Ask your director/program administrator about Virginia Quality enrollment to find out if you qualify.
  • If you are employed by an early childhood program NOT participating with Virginia Quality, the fee is $100, payable to ReadyKids by money order (or business check). Please see below for more information about required books.

What books do I need, and where do I get them?

Each student will need three books for this class:

  • The Essentials for Working With Children Textbook
  • The Essentials for Working With Children Workbook
  • CDA Competency Standards Book – select either Preschool, Infant-Toddler, or Family Child Care

All three books can be purchased together from the Council for Professional Recognition Store for $95 plus $17 shipping (  If you work at a program that is enrolled in Virginia Quality, the cost of your books may be partially covered as long as funding is available.  Ask ReadyKids or your director/program administrator to see if your program is enrolled in Virginia Quality.

When and where are classes held?

Classes are held at the Education Center at ReadyKids, 1000 East High Street, Charlottesville VA 22902.  Please contact Suzanne McDonald for the schedule and more information.