Online Child Care Professional Course | Penn Foster Career School

Online Child Care Professional Diploma Program

Why Penn Foster Career School?

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

Program Overview

Partner of Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Get ready to pursue a career as a child care professional with Penn Foster Career School's online Child Care Professional Career Diploma program! Start learning new skills at home, on your own time, at your own pace. The Child Care Professional Career Diploma program helps students prepare for entry-level positions such as a Teacher Aide, Preschool Aide, In-home Child Care Provider, or Nanny. The program will also provide 38 continuing education units (CEUs) for students working with children ages birth through eight.

In this program, you can gain practical experience by working in a real-world licensed childcare center through field experience. Penn Foster Career School is an official partner of Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Through our partnership with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, you may be able to be placed in a Bright Horizons center near you for the optional work experience portion of the program.

Why Choose Penn Foster Career School for Child Care Professional Training

Specializations

The program offers two specializations for students to choose from. The choice of specialization allows you to receive concentrated training for the area of employment you want in the Early Childhood Care industry:

CDA Credential Preparation

The Child Care Professional program is designed to also help you prepare to apply for your CDA Credential - the most widely recognized credential in Early Childhood Education and a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in this field. The program can fulfill both the educational component and the professional work experience CDA Credential prerequisites. To see a full list of requirements of the CDA Credential process, visit the CDA Credential Overview page.

Graduates of this online child care program are eligible to continue their early childhood education with Penn Foster College's Early Childhood Education Associate Degree.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare for entry-level positions working in a child care center or family child care program and to provide continuing education units for those working with children ages birth through eight.

Program Outcomes

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

  • Recognize the opportunities available in the field of early childhood and the professional organizations that accredit and advance the field
  • Define how to supervise and monitor the health and safety of children in their care
  • Organize developmentally appropriate activities and implement curricula that support healthy social and emotional development, along with healthy growth and development in areas including math, science, social studies, art, music, literacy, and language
  • Create schedules and routines to ensure children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Recognize signs of social, emotional, physical or developmental delay in children, including the range of development disabilities among young children. Student will understand how to plan for children with special needs and communicate those issues to the proper stakeholders
  • Keep of records of children’s progress, routines, and interests, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered
  • Identify the importance of partnerships with families, colleagues, and the community
  • Identify principles from the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
  • Recognize the cultural differences among families and apply strategies to meet the various needs of all children in their care

Family Child Care Specialization

  • Identify the necessary skills needed to start and maintain a well- planned and successful early childhood program such as marketing, finance, accreditation, local and state regulations, facilities and personnel management, hiring and staff development
  • Consider effective curricula and lessons plans for multi-age populations in an early childhood family childcare setting
  • Recognize the unique characteristics of developing a nurturing environment for children and families, planning effective curriculum, and developmentally appropriate activities in a family childcare early childhood setting

Center-Based Specialization

  • Recognize typical development of infants and toddlers and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations for the infant and toddler classroom environment
  • Recognize typical development of preschool age children and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations    for the preschool classroom environment
  • Recognize typical development of school-age children and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations for the school-age classroom environment

Course 1

Orientation to Child Care Professional

The first part of this course will help you understand how to use your student portal, access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers, and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites. The second part of this course will introduce you to the early childhood field, including the various careers within the field, professional organizations who advocate for young children, and ethical expectations of early childhood professionals.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your student portal
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites
  • Describe the various careers available to early childhood professionals
  • Explain the increasing demand for child care
  • Compare in-home care, family child care, and child care centers
  • Identify quality child care and its benefits

Course 2

Child Growth and Development

In this course, you’ll learn about the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development of young children from birth through school age. You’ll study how both environment and biology influence a growing child. You’ll gain practice identifying developmental delays and possible disabilities. In addition, you’ll learn developmentally appropriate practices in planning for the success of all children. You’ll also explore how culture and family can influence children’s learning.

Objectives:

  • Describe the factors that influence a child’s growth and development
  • Explain development from the prenatal period to birth
  • Compare developmental theories of development
  • Apply observation principles in childhood
  • Describe brain and physical development of children from birth to age eight
  • Describe social and emotional development of children from birth to age eight
  • Identify cognition, language, and literacy milestones of children from birth to age eight
  • Explain early intervention and how to meet the diverse needs of all children

Course 3

Child Guidance

This course will introduce the student to developmentally appropriate guidance strategies to meet the needs of young children, as well as effective management strategies that will meet the needs of the setting.

Objectives:

  • Identify the four goals for guidance in a safe and supportive environment
  • Solve communication problems with parents
  • Explain developmentally appropriate guidance strategies needed to interact with young children
  • Describe a variety of disabilities and understand what steps need to be taken if a child has a delay or you suspect a child has a delay
  • Identify the different types of childhood aggression and understand the strategies to use to modify the behavior
  • Identify and use strategies that encourage positive and prosocial behavior in children

Course 4

Home, School, and Community

This course provides an introduction to the partnerships that child care professionals must create with parents and others to achieve the best results for children in their child care setting.

Objectives:

  • Explain how the social environment of young children affects development
  • Identify sensors that prevent healthy growth and development in children
  • Define family-related stressors that affect development
  • Define environment-related stressors that affect development
  • Identify ways to involve families with the early childhood setting
  • Describe how to partner with colleagues to better serve children
  • Describe how to partner with the community to better serve children

Course 5

Observation and Assessment

This course provides an introduction to observation techniques and how to use those observations toward assessing individuals and groups of young children.

Objectives:

  • Describe how observation and assessment help you teach children
  • Describe child development and how child development relates to observation and assessment
  • Conduct an unbiased observation
  • Analyze and select appropriate assessment tools
  • Collect and analyze data on the whole child
  • Gather information from observations and assessments
  • Analyze and examine information from observation and assessment
  • Describe why and how early childhood educators share findings from observations and assessments with families and partners
  • Use your findings to develop learning experiences that meet the needs of each child in your setting

Course 6

Curriculum, Activities, and Lesson Planning

This course teaches how to plan and implement developmentally appropriate and creative curriculum, as well as how to foster children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth using varying instructional methods including play-based activities. It introduces how to effectively facilitate creative expression and curricular considerations associated with teaching math, science, social studies, art, and music. It also teaches the importance of play, as well as the curricular and planning considerations necessary to make play an integral part of young children’s learning experiences.

Objectives:

  • Identify essential components and indicators of effective early childhood curriculum
  • Discuss and describe five popular models of early childhood curriculum
  • Discuss the importance of effective observation and assessment in the early childhood setting
  • Identify the components of a successful early childhood lesson plan and discuss the importance of planning predictable routines for children
  • Describe developmentally appropriate practice and plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities in the early childhood setting
  • Describe the basic components of both small- and whole-group time in the early childhood setting and plan appropriate activities
  • Identify and discuss early play theory and the importance of play in the early childhood setting
  • Understand language development in children and plan developmentally appropriate language experiences for the early childhood setting
  • Describe the benefits of exposing children to literature and plan developmentally appropriate literature experiences in the early childhood setting
  • Describe literacy development in children and plan activities to support literacy development in the early childhood setting
  • Discuss the importance of planning activities to help children gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful citizens
  • Discuss how children develop mathematical skills and plan experiences that help children develop their understanding of mathematics
  • Nurture childhood curiosity and plan developmentally appropriate science activities for children in the early childhood setting
  • Describe how children interact with music and discuss the importance of music in the early childhood setting
  • Discuss the developmental stages of art and plan developmentally appropriate activities for the early childhood setting

Course 7

Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child

This course will introduce the student to the topics of health, safety, and nutrition as they relate to the early childhood setting. Students will learn to assess children's health and safety and plan for a nurturing learning environment that provides optimal health, safety and nutritious eating habits for all children in their care.

Objectives:

  • Describe, create, and promote a safe and healthy environment in your child care setting and with families
  • Prevent injuries and keep children safe in your child care setting
  • Prepare and plan for emergency situations including injuries
  • Safely plan and prepare appropriate food choices for children
  • Plan appropriate physical activities for children
  • Describe the importance of oral health, mental health, and health education
  • Explain the types of health services that should be implemented in an early childhood environment
  • Describe the training and certifications that child care professionals must have in order to keep children healthy and safe.
  • Set up your child care environment so that it supports healthy development for children
  • Care for children who have different health needs
  • Plan a learning environment that's appropriate for all children, including those with special needs
  • Identify signs of abuse and neglect in children and know what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected

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Family Child Care Specialization

Course 8

Starting Your Own Early Childhood Program

This course will introduce the student to the effective business activities of starting and owning their own family child care business.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the planning and organizing of child development programs
  • Identify the focus of a needs assessment for a child development program
  • Apply theories in managing a child development center
  • Discuss policies, procedures and rules for a child development program
  • Describe the fiscal responsibilities of a child development manager
  • Explain the licensing requirements for a child development program
  • Describe the steps in the job design process
  • Describe the ways in which space is organized to meet the needs of children
  • Describe the policies and practices that a Family Child Care should have in place to protect and promote child health
  • Describe the requirements of a quality educational program
  • Explain the importance of family-friendly practice and cultural responsiveness
  • Describe effective public relations strategies
  • Explain the elements of program evaluation

Course 9

Working with Multi-Age Groups

This course will present the student with strategies to plan for successful curriculum implementation and creative activities for a setting including young children of multiple ages.

Objectives:

  • Describe what multi-age groups are, why family child care is appropriate for multi-age groups, and the benefits and challenges of serving them
  • Define characteristics of quality and what they look like when serving multi-age groups in family child care
  • Identify the critical management systems to support the day-to-day of teaching multi-age groups in family child care
  • Understand developmental progress for children birth to five
  • Identify developmental milestones for young children
  • Define considerations for multi-age groupings
  • Understand ongoing assessment in the family child care setting
  • Identify activities for the whole group and each child
  • Plan with children's objectives in mind
  • Define the importance of family engagement, particularly in the family child care setting
  • Develop strategies for communicating with families

Course 10

Caring for Children in Your Home

This course will present the student with strategies to plan for successful learning environments that promote healthy child growth and development, and promote communication with caretakers and family members of young children in an in-home family child care setting.

Objectives:

  • Understand what a quality family child care environment looks like
  • Identify the warning signs of an inappropriate environment
  • Describe how to set the mood and atmosphere of your environment
  • Identify the important considerations and choices that you need to make as you set up your environment
  • Identify the health and safety standards to consider when setting up your environment
  • Describe how to achieve your goals in your setting
  • Describe the importance of organizing the environment
  • Describe how to create an appropriate outdoor environment
  • Describe how to set up your space for children with special needs

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Center-Based Specialization

Course 8

Infant and Toddler Care

This course will introduce the student to the developmental continuum of infants and toddlers, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the infant and toddler classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Describe the interactions that are critical to child development
  • Describe the components of infant and toddler curriculum
  • Explain how caregiving supports infant and toddler curriculum
  • Explain how play relates to infant and toddler curriculum
  • Describe attachment in children and understand how attachment affects behavior
  • Describe the growth and development of children in relation to their perceptions and motor skills
  • Describe how to support cognitive development in infants and toddlers
  • Explain how to foster language development in infants and toddlers
  • Foster healthy emotional development within infants and toddlers
  • Support healthy social behavior in infants and toddlers
  • Create a safe physical environment for infants and toddlers
  • Create a safe social environment for infants and toddlers
  • Create positive relationships within the child care setting

Course 9

Working with Preschoolers

This course will introduce the student the developmental continuum of preschool children, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the preschool classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Explain why play is the primary way of learning for young children
  • Identify the components of a quality early childhood environment
  • Describe why theories of child development, current research, curriculum standards, and desired outcomes should be considered when planning an effective learning environment
  • Explain how to effectively arrange an early childhood classroom
  • Identify the role of the teacher in setting up, maintaining, and enhancing the
    classroom environment
  • Describe how the teacher can help to create a classroom community
  • Discuss the importance of teacher and family partnerships
  • List several ways in which teachers can support family partnerships
  • Discuss how to develop and implement curriculum plans
  • Explain how to effectively set up an activity center with materials and equipment
  • Explain how interest areas promote development in the four domains
  • Discuss how interest areas promote learning in the content areas
  • Design a high-quality interest area

Course 10

Working with School-Age Children

This course will introduce students to the developmental continuum of school-age children, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the school-age classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Describe the various ways school-age children are cared for before and after school
  • Identify the care needs of school-age children
  • Describe a quality program for school age children
  • Identify the characteristics and roles of a person who works with school-age children
  • Explain the various theories of child development
  • Describe an adult’s role in the socialization and development of school-age children
  • Identify concerns that face school-age children and their parents
  • Describe guidance strategies that can be used to guide school-age children's behavior
  • Create a safe environment for school-age children
  • Develop a curriculum plan for a school-age program
  • Keep school-age children healthy and fit
  • Support school-age children with indoor activities
  • Support school-age children with outdoor activities
  • Design programs for older children and teens
  • Develop partnerships with families, schools, and the community
  • Describe the licensing and policy issues that a school-age program may face

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your 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 OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

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

Child Care Professional Work Experience Options

Penn Foster Career School will help you prepare to become a child care professional through formal training, professional work experience, and project-based learning. You will have the opportunity to take advantage of two Work Experience Options (WEO) as part of your training. Each WEO requires 240 hours of professional work experience. If you choose to do both WEOs and successfully complete each, you will have the 480 hours of professional work experience required in order to apply for the CDA (Child Development Associate) credential if you wish to pursue that. Penn Foster Career School has partnered with Bright Horizons to offer students the chance to apply for work experience at their facilities.

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

You can improve your professional child care knowledge for a current job or new career in public or private school classrooms, after-school and daycare programs, camps or preschool centers, home child care facilities, and government agencies or institutions. Here are a few qualities that effective child care professionals have in common:

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

I am so happy that I made a career change with the help of Penn Foster. Penn Foster makes it easy, and they are always supportive and encouraging to you. Whenever I had a question, I just gave my instructors a call, and they were very helpful and easy to talk with. The online testing made it convenient, and my shipments always arrived right on time.

- Christina R., Penn Foster Graduate

Penn Foster is a great school with amazing people who always help and work with you through ANY situation. I experienced a fire in my home, and Penn Foster was there for me to cope through the situation. Thank you, and I will be doing another program soon.

- Claudia D., Penn Foster Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Textbooks and learning aids
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Child Care Professional academic group
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising
  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest

How do the specializations work?

Graduates of the program will be qualified for entry-level employment working with children in either a center-/preschool-based setting or in a home-based setting.The program offers two specializations for students to choose from: Center-Based or Family Child Care. Students will choose their specialization post-enrollment but before they can begin their program. Based on the student’s choice of specialization, their final three courses will be different.

Will I earn my CDA Credential after completing the Penn Foster College Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation?

No, only the Council for Professional Recognition can award the CDA Credential. The Penn Foster Career School Child Care Professional Certificate Program is designed to help you prepare to apply for your CDA Credential. With this program, you will:

• Receive 480 hours of professional work experience, if you successfully complete both Work Experience Options
• Receive 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care

All of these are requirements for obtaining the CDA Credential. To see a full list of requirements of the CDA Credential process, visit the CDA Credential Overview page.

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