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I Have to Write a Professional Philosophy Statement for my CDA? YIKES!

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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What IS a philosophy? It is a set of beliefs and personal understandings about something in which a person holds a deep interest.

Because you are committed to your work with young children, the Council wants to know about your philosophy of caring for and educating them.

Based on your experience and your education, you have the elements of a philosophy in your mind already, but they are yet to be organized and written down.

For your Portfolio, you will base what you write on four questions posed by the Council. But trying to start there may be difficult. It is sort of like putting the horse before the cart, so to speak!




im confused



Instead, develop your philosophy by using the “developmentally appropriate” approach you use with children… making the process the focus, rather than the end product.

I suggest reflecting and writing down your beliefs and understandings in small steps. Then, use these to develop a well-thought out and meaningful philosophy statement that will practically write itself.

Start out by asking yourself what you believe about young children… what are their needs and how do they learn best? How do you meet these needs and provide for optimal learning? What are the elements of a good early childhood curriculum and an engaging learning environment?

Now think about the characteristics of a good teacher. What are these, in your opinion, and which ones are the most important. You will also reflect on how a teacher can build positive relationships with families. Then, jot down your thoughts about meeting the needs of children with special needs, and how to best embrace diversity in your program.

Getting your ideas out and down on paper (either typed on your computer or handwritten) helps to make sense of what you believe about early childhood education. It also channels your thinking into new directions… so you can see purpose and reasons behind the activities, materials, and environments you provide for young children and the collaborations you build with families. This, in itself, is a priceless outcome.

woman writing in journal



How you answer these questions will depend on your experience working with young children and your training. You must realize that a philosophy is not set in stone. It is a work in progress. As you gain more professional development and more experience, expect your answers to these questions to change and evolve.

That’s why I suggest answering these questions early on in your CDA process… while you are still accumulating your 120 clock hours of training. Then, plan to sit down and reflect on these questions again near the end of the process, when your training and Professional Portfolio is completed. You will be surprised at how much fuller and meaningful your answers will be, reflecting your own professional growth.

Now, you are ready to use these reflections to thoughtfully answer the Council’s questions in a one or two page Professional Philosophy Statement. The process will reveal a very nicely composed product and just what the Professional Development Specialist is expecting to see. What started out to seem a difficult and confusing task will now make sense and be almost effortless.

If you would like a more complete listing of these questions for reflection, contact me on my website and I’ll be happy to provide more information. My students always say this process is definitely worth the time and effort… not just in meeting a requirement for a CDA, but for introspection and reflection on why they do what they do every day.

man with preschoolers





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Debra Pierce is professor of Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Ivy Tech is the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college systems, serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Her professional background has always involved children, over the past 40 years, having been a primary grades teacher in the Chicago Public School system, a teacher of 3 and 4 year-olds in a NAEYC accredited preschool for 15 years, and a certified Parent Educator for the National Parents as Teachers Program.

Debra is a certified Professional Development Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition. She has taught CDA courses to high school career/tech dual credit juniors and seniors in preparation for earning their CDA credentials. She also conducts CDA train-the-trainer events across the country and develops and teaches online CDA courses for several states, is a frequent presenter at national and state early childhood conferences, and is a Master Trainer for the states of Minnesota and Arizona. She was also awarded the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award by the University of Texas.

Debra is active in her community, supporting children's literacy and is on the board of directors of First Book in Indianapolis. Debra is a contributing author for Hamilton County Family Magazine and Indy's Child in Indianapolis.
She loves spending time with her two grandsons, Indy, who is 7 and Radley, 3.

Debra has spent the last 16 years dedicated to the success of those pursuing the CDA credential and is the author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential, now in its third edition (Redleaf Press), the only publication of its kind. She hosts a website providing help and support to CDA candidates and those who train them at http://www.easycda.com
The comments and views expressed are not in collaboration or affiliation with The Council for Professional Recognition or Ivy Tech Community College.
Follow me on Twitter at /easycda

  • Guest
    Gabrielle Peterson Friday, 13 November 2015

    When I have to write about myself what all should I share about me and I'm 17 but starting it now should I put I'm 17 or 18 because I'll be 18 when I turn it in

  • Guest
    Barbara Espinoza Sunday, 08 October 2017

    Hi I am in the attempted to getting my CDA I am still understanding the process of what I need to have done and really understand what I am doing I hope u can help me I do work for a head start I have there for five years going on 6. I am a cook aid and bus aid. I also have helped in classroom. Any advice will help thank you Barbara Espinoza

  • Guest
    Brianda Garcia Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    hello, my name is Brianda Garcia. I am a substitute Teacher at Head Start, I am working on getting My CDA. I am almost at the end of the process writing my Philosophy Statement but I need some help, can you please provide me the questions I need to answer so i can complete my statement and get this done.I will appreciate it. Thank you

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Guest Monday, 18 March 2019