Child Development Certificate Online Course Details

Penn Foster Career School’s Child Development Certificate program consists of four courses to help you gain the knowledge and skills relevant in early childhood education. Plus, the Child Development Certificate fulfills the 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care that is required in order to apply for the CDA credential.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

This certificate is designed to meet the CDA requirement for 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care, covering the fundamentals of early childhood education, child growth and development, and health, safety, and nutrition for young children.

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
  • 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
This course is designed to teach you the importance and benefit of early childhood education.


  • Describe the philosophies of various types of early childhood education programs.
  • Equip and organize an effective early childhood classroom.
  • Participate in a webinar and complete an observation report project.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Teaching Children in a Diverse Setting

Child growth and development is impacted by both genetics and environment.


  • Understand the basics of child psychology.
  • Recognize the interplay of both genetics and the environment on child growth and development.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Child Development

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.
Additional Course Material


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

Early childhood educators are responsible for selecting developmentally appropriate toys for children of various age groups and stages of development. For this graded project, research the guidelines for selecting developmentally appropriate toys for a child in a specific age group.

The current emphasis on producing high-quality, comprehensive programming for young children requires early-learning professionals to develop excellent observation and assessment skills. To do your best work on behalf of children, you must be able to accurately determine the skill level of each child. As early-learning programs and elementary schools begin to work cooperatively to provide seamless transitions for children, your observations and assessments will follow them throughout their school years. The first two chapters of the textbook describe the purpose of observation and assessment in the early childhood classroom and the process of collecting and recording these observations in the Child Development Checklist. Chapters 3 through 11 cover the specific sections of the checklist and provide practical suggestions for fostering children’s development in each learning area. The final chapter discusses how you can share your observations with the children’s family members.


  • Analyze the importance of observation and understanding the development of self-esteem related to assessment.
  • Categorize the assessment methods of social and emotional skills and motor development.
  • Distinguish between the teaching processes related to cognitive development, language, and emerging literacy.
  • Point out the importance of developing creativity and sharing assessment data with families.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Observing Development of the Young Child

Additional Details

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 in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Surround Sound Support

A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Child Development Certificate Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Child Development course would look like.
Penn Foster Child Development Certificate Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
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 macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Enroll Now Request Info