Editor’s Note: Matrix Head Start participated in Mayor Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program this summer. Fourteen youths received 120 hours of formal early childhood education training toward attaining their Child Development Associate (CDA), while earning wages for their time. Head Start requires a CDA, at minimum, to be an assistant teacher in an Early Head Start classroom.
“My sister told me about Grow Detroit’s Young Talent. I was interested in child care and healthcare opportunities. The CDA training program with Matrix Head Start ended up being a good fit for me. I graduated from Osborn High School in 2013, and this is a good career path for me.
My four-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy. Taking care of her and wanting to know more, made me interested in early childhood.
The CDA program clarified some of the things I thought I knew about children and helped me learn a lot more. It was pretty technical, learning about how to do things in the classroom. For example, we learned about making weekly menus for the children, the different food groups and to include a meat, grain and fruit or vegetable for each meal. We also learned about what goes into a weekly activity plan for the classroom, like dramatic play, crafts and other ways to engage children in learning. You have to find a balance to involve all types of learners at the same time.
Writing competency statements was a challenge and understanding all that’s expected for that. We learned how to really observe and analyze children’s actions and put that into a learning perspective. You have to be very detailed, technical, about what you’re seeing. It’s not like writing a story. It took me a little time to figure this out, but through the course I learned how to do this. That will be a strength for me moving forward.
After the 120 hours of coursework, I plan to find volunteer or paid classroom work (480 hours) so that I can take the test and get my credential. This was a great opportunity for me. Now, it’s either you’re going to take the opportunity or you’re not. I’m going to take it.”