Valerie Burch has always loved kids. Ever since she was old enough to babysit, she went door-to-door in her neighborhood looking for business. The dedicated assistant director has worked with kids in some capacity for nearly 30 years, and at the end of 2015 she completed the Child Development Associate coursework to back up the work she’s done for most of her life.
“Going through with the CDA makes me think differently about all the things I’ve learned through the years,” said Burch. “Now I have the school work to show it.”
Burch began her CDA process when the Coburg Road KinderCare in Eugene, Ore. submitted their materials for accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children in January of last year. She and three other teachers signed up to take CDA classes to meet the NAEYC requirement.
With three other teachers working toward their CDA at the same time, Burch had plenty of support going through the program, even while working full time.
“It was so nice to be with others in the center,” she said. “It’s team building; we share resources, and we all have different styles of teaching so we really learn from each other.”
Burch completed her CDA using benefits from Knowledge Universe. All of her classes were online, and she was able to continue working full time while completing coursework. As an added bonus, she didn’t have to pay a dime.
“It’s a really great program; I definitely recommend it,” she said. “It takes a lot of time, but they really make it manageable for you. You know what’s ahead so you can plan out your time, and there’s someone to help you through everything.”
Burch’s CDA didn’t just help her center achieve accreditation, it provided her with valuable professional development and new skills to use in her AD role.
“Assistant director was been my favorite position since being with KinderCare because I get to spend time with the kids, but I’m also learning the business,” she said.
Just like the kids she interacts with every day, Burch learned new skills that will help her for the rest of her career.
“Anyone can do this,” she said.
More information about the CDA program is available on the KU Benefits website.