Child Care Training & Online Certification | Penn Foster Career School

Child Day Care Training

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Child Day Care Program Overview

Start learning new skills at home and on your own time with Penn Foster Career School today! Graduates of this program are eligible to continue their early childhood education with Penn Foster College's Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation or the Early Childhood Education Associate Degree. Penn Foster College is licensed in Arizona.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students to start and operate a child care business.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Know how to supervise and monitor the safety of children in their care
  • Understand the preparation of meals and snacks, helping children keep good hygiene, changing diapers, and sanitizing toys and play equipment
  • Know how to organize activities and implement a curriculum that allow children to learn about the world and explore interests; support children's emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts
  • Understand the creation of schedules and routines that ensure that children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Recognize signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring the problems to the attention of parents
  • Understand the keeping of records of children’s progress, routines, and interest, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered
  • Know how to communicate with children's parents or guardians about daily activities, behaviors, and related issues

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Contemporary Child Day Care

Effective caregivers need more than a love of children. Quality child care requires a high level of professionalism. 


  • Understand the components of quality child care and the responsibilities of the caregiver.
  • Reflect and develop your own child care beliefs and principles.
  • Determine where you best fit in the child day care industry.

Unit 2

Child Development, Part 1

By increasing your understanding of a child’s behavior and development, you’ll increase your effectiveness as a caregiver. 


  • Understand and evaluate child development theories.
  • Outline intellectual, physical, and emotional growth from birth to age five.
  • Describe how to effectively handle scenarios that you may encounter as a caregiver.
Child Development, Part 2

It's likely that today's caregivers will be asked to care for school-aged children as well as preschoolers. 


  • Compare the needs of school-aged children and preschoolers.
  • Provide a caring and stimulating environment for children.
  • Develop a flexible day care program.
Practical Exercise: Reflection and Observation

This practical exercise provides the opportunity to explore and understand the diversity of your region or local area in addition to the broader national context. 

Additional Unit Materials

Supplement: Student Observation Guide

Observing a child care setting can be a valuable experience. This supplement guides observations at day care centers and family day care homes. 

Equipment: Ages and Stages Chart

Unit 3

How to Start Your Day Care Facility

Many things need to be done before you can open your doors to the children you’ll care for. This lesson explains how to open your new business in an organized manner.


  • Outline the steps and requirements to open your own day care.
Licensing, Accreditation, and Certification

This lesson takes the mystery out of the official aspects of child care. 


  • Understand the meaning and importance of licensing, accreditation, and certification and how to deal with them.
Practical Exercise: Local Standards and Regulations

This practical exercise helps you navigate and understand your local standards and regulations as well as how they compare to those in other states. 

Unit 4

The Facility

Location, size, user needs, government regulations, accessibility, aesthetics, and health and safety are all vital considerations when starting a day care. 


  • Plan the interior and exterior of a day care facility.
  • Organize activity areas in both child care and utility areas.
The Staff

This lesson explains how to staff your facility with competent, trustworthy child care providers. 


  • Understand staff roles.
  • Describe the expected knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff members.
  • Explain effective recruiting, interviewing, and hiring strategies.
  • Outline strategies to motivate and encourage your staff members to continue their education and self-development.
Technology in Day Care

Administrators, providers, parents, and children all benefit from the multiple forms of technology available today. 


  • Utilize children’s software and computer devices appropriate for different age groups and interests.
  • Use online resources such as homework helpers and virtual field trips.
  • Describe how to teach young children to use computers.
Practical Exercise: Facilities and Staff

There's an enormous variety in the types of day care programs and the facilities they use. This practical exercise helps you navigate your local regulations and understand how they compare to national norms and recommendations.

Unit 5

Program Planning

In this lesson, you'll receive an overview of how to plan activities that are appropriate to each age group in your day care facility. 


  • Understand the importance of a well-developed program plan.
  • Develop age appropriate activities.
Planning and Implementing for the Environment

Learn how to prepare the environment to fit your program’s size, philosophy, and budget. 


  • Plan the physical environment, including organization and size.
  • Select the appropriate equipment for the children and facility.
  • Budget for equipment and learn about providers for ordering equipment.
  • Group children according to their age and need, your space and equipment, and the skills of your staff.

Child caregivers are responsible for providing direction, leadership, and instruction for the children in their care. 


  • Understand the relationship between guidance and discipline.
  • Describe the ideal environment for children.
  • Explain how to deal with misbehavior and aggression.
  • Explain how to foster good behavior and high self-esteem among the children in your care.
Celebrating Diversity

We’ll examine diversity and an inclusive approach to early childhood education. 


  • Reflect on your own view of diversity and some of the challenges that you may face.
  • Describe principles of inclusion.
  • Outline strategies to create an environment that’s respectful of various backgrounds and needs.
Practical Exercise: Program, Environment, and Guidance

This exercise provides the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned and further explore various types of day care programs and facilities. 

Additional Unit Material

Supplement: Activities for Infants and Toddlers

This supplement provides effective and enjoyable activities that develop self-confidence, language skills, and sensorimotor skills, as well as artistic and musical ability. 

Unit 6

Working with School-Age Children

With more working parents, there are more school-age children in need of child care. 


  • Understand how to create a social and interactive environment where children can relax, begin their homework, and engage in stimulating activities after school.
  • Describe how to support and mentor school-age children.
Working with Parents and Families

A successful program requires that the caregiver, the child, and the child’s guardian work together. 


  • Describe the child and caregiver relationship.
  • Understand the important role of the parent and family.
Financing and Budget

A solid understanding of finances and budgets are important knowledge sets for the program operator. 


  • Understand how to manage the financial aspects of your business.
Practical Exercise: Parents, Finances, and School-Age Children

You will be presented with some child day care management scenarios. Answer questions about what you would do in each situation to practice your ability to plan and implement a healthy and safe child care program. 

Additional Unit Materials

Supplement: Master Forms for a Day Care Facility

This supplement contains samples of state forms and templates for your own forms that you will need to keep records and effectively manage your day care. 

Textbook: Working with School-Age Children

Unit 7

Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child

Each day seems to bring more dire news about health, especially children’s health. However, early childhood educators and staff have the potential to create enormous, positive changes in the way children eat, exercise, and avoid injurious habits. 


  • Understand the components of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Develop programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles.

Graded Project: Resource File

Graded Project

Graded Project: Resource File

Additional Unit Materials


  • The Young Child and the Environment: Issues Related to Health, Nutrition, Safety, and Physical Activity


  • Information on accident hazards
  • Poison antidote guide
  • First aid guide

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Child Day Care sample lesson, click here.

Child Day Care Training Program Details and State Requirements

Penn Foster Career School's Child Day Care training program can help you take the first step towards a career in early childhood education. Our program provides practical exercises so you can apply what you've learned. If you are interested in an early childhood education degree, course assignments may be transferred to Penn Foster College's Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation as well as the Early Childhood Education Associate Degree.

State education requirements vary for early childhood education professionals, click here for details. Penn Foster Career School recommends you check with the licensing agency in your state for specific requirements. Also, a background check will be required for employment in child day care centers and schools.

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

child day care management training online

Here are a few qualities that effective child day care providers have in common:

  • Communication: You listen and talk through situations with students, teachers, and parents.
  • Cooperation: You are pleasant and helpful.
  • Sociability: Spending time with others is fun and rewarding.
  • Creativity: It’s important to think outside the box to engage young children.
  • Compassion: You care about the health and well-being of others.

I own my own day care and have really gotten a lot out of it. I thought that I was too old to even consider taking this program, but I am glad that I did. I've learned much.

- M. Cromie, Child Day Care Graduate

Penn Foster is a great place to learn. The instructors are only a phone call away if you need any help. They are friendly and eager to assist. It is a truly great way to get an education. I even met a few new friends online who were taking the same program that I was. We were able to help each other when needed. I plan on taking another program from Penn Foster.

- Karen M., Penn Foster Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Child Day Care academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Why should I invest my time and energy into the Child Day Care Career Diploma Program?

Whether you’re a parent, professional caregiver, or just someone interested in learning more about how to help children develop to their fullest potential, you can gain insight that can help you in both personal and professional life.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Childcare Workers, on the Internet here. Statistics found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are based on national data, so job growth in your area may be different.

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