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How to Complete a CDA Portfolio

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The Child Development Associate(CDA) portfolio is essential to demonstrating your abilities in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) certification process. Building your portfolio requires compiling your best work and putting it together in a professional, ease-to-see medium. It will be viewed during the CDA verification visit by the council reviewing your certification.

Sections of the CDA Portfolio

There are three main sections to the CDA portfolio: the professional philosophy statement, the statements of competencies and your resource collection. The professional philosophy section isn't long. It's a section that reviews your core beliefs about ECE and how professionals should perform in the field.

The statements of competencies reviews six goals and elaborates on basic goals. Goal one is about having a safe, healthy learning environment. Goal two discusses physical and intellectual competence in the field. Goal three talks about fostering social and emotional growth and development. Goal four focuses on building family bonds and relationships. Goal five specifies how a program meets expectations and runs effectively. Goal six revolves around professionalism and your commitment to the field.

The resource collection is 10 items, each numbered to demonstrate how it pertains to any one of the six competency goals. These are cross-referenced during a verification visit. These items demonstrate the goals as practical lessons or examples.

Presentation of the CDA Portfolio

There are two standard methods of presentation: the binder or the organizer box. Regardless of which you choose, make sure it is neat and clean, and looks professional. Organizing the CDA into a binder makes it easy to carry and present. The box with file folders allows for the verification visit examiner to easily pull items from a resource collection file and cross- reference it to the goals. The choice is yours on how to best show your portfolio.

What to Do With the CDA Portfolio

Once your portfolio is built, prepare yourself for the verification visit. Visits follow an ROR model, which means: Review, Observe and Reflect. The evaluator reviews the items in the CDA portfolio. Once that is complete, the evaluator observes the candidate in the classroom setting with children. Upon completion of notes in the observation section, the candidate and evaluator reflect on strengths and weaknesses. Candidates are given suggestions for improvement and validation of good practices.


Kimberlee Leonard has trained more hundreds of professionals in telemarketing, sales and promotional events over the past 20 years. She brings humor and simplicity to her writing whether writing for small local brands such as Hawaii's or major marketing sites such as Kimberlee is a proud fourth generation Hawaii local.

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