Childcare is a vital component of a child's early development. The quality of care children receive during their formative years can significantly impact their growth and learning. Recognizing the importance of #early-childhood-education and childcare, the state of Maryland has established the Maryland Child Care Credentialing Program, a comprehensive initiative aimed at enhancing the qualifications and skills of childcare professionals.
The Importance of Quality Childcare
High-quality childcare plays a crucial role in a child's physical, cognitive, and emotional development. It provides a safe and nurturing environment for children to explore, learn, and build social skills, all of which are essential for their overall development. When childcare providers are well-trained and educated in child development, they can create an environment that fosters a child's growth and prepares them for success in school and life.
The Maryland Child Care Credentialing Program
The Maryland Child Care Credentialing Program is a quality initiative that distinguishes child care providers who exceed the minimum requirements set by State licensing regulations. This program serves as a career progression ladder, guiding individuals to progressively enhance their knowledge and skills, from basic training to advanced levels of education. This systematic professional development journey is rooted in extensive research and best practices, tailored to meet the specific needs of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children, aligning with foundational and specialized competencies to elevate the quality and stability of the child care workforce. Providers are mandated to partake in training that encompasses all aspects of child development across various domains, as well as cultural competencies.
The program is structured around seven staff credential levels and four administrator levels, each of which recognizes a child care provider's achievement of specific training, experience, and professional activities that are integral to delivering high-quality child care programs. It is important to note that participation in the Maryland Child Care Credentialing Program is voluntary. However, it is open to and actively encouraged for all registered family child care providers, licensed child care center staff, and administrators.
Key Program Goals
Well-Qualified Workforce: The foremost objective of the program is to foster a highly qualified workforce. By offering a structured path for professional development, it empowers child care providers to continually enhance their knowledge and expertise, thereby ensuring they are better prepared to offer top-notch care.
Enhanced Child Care Quality: A primary goal of the program is to elevate the overall quality of child care programs. This not only benefits children's early development but also ensures that all children are better prepared to succeed when they enter school.
Improved Status and Compensation: The program seeks to improve the status and compensation of child care providers. Recognizing their dedication and efforts in the form of credentials, the program aims to elevate the professional standing of child care providers and provide them with more competitive compensation.
Recognition of Career Preparation: The Maryland Child Care Credentialing Program acknowledges both for-credit and non-credit career preparation, ensuring that it accommodates various pathways towards becoming a proficient child care provider.
Professional Growth through Competencies: By focusing on professional competencies, the program provides a structured framework for career advancement. It encourages child care providers to continually develop their skills and knowledge, fostering a culture of lifelong learning.
The Core of Knowledge Areas
Theories and practices that are essential for individuals working with children in child care programs are divided into six major core of knowledge areas:
- D-Child Development
- H-Health, Safety, and Nutrition
- S-Special Needs
Each credential level recognizes the completion of education, experience, and professional activities.
- Level 1 – State licensing requirements.
- Level 2 – 45 clock hours of core of knowledge training and one PAU.
- Level 3 – 90 clock hours of core of knowledge training, one year of experience or one year of college and two PAUs.
- Level 4 – 135 clock hours of core of knowledge training, two years of experience and three PAUs.
- Level 4 Plus – Level 4 requirements and either NAFCC accreditation or 15 college credit hours of approved college coursework for option 2 or 3.
- Level 5 – Associate's Degree with 15 semester hours of approved coursework for option 2 or 3, two years experience and four PAUs.
- Level 6 – Bachelor's Degree or higher in an approved major for option 2 or 3, two years experience and five PAUs.
Registered family child care providers, child care center directors, infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age teachers, assistants and aides working part-time or fulltime in a licensed facility are eligible to participate in the credentialing program.
Individuals interested in participating in the credentialing program should submit a complete application packet via fax or mail to: Fax Number 410.229.0145 Child Care Central PO Box 598 Baltimore, MD 21203
For more information call 1-877-355-1229 or email MCCCredential@conduent.com