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The title "child development associate" can mean a few different things. For example, a person who works to assist children developmentally and provide supports to their families might have this title. The term may also apply to a person who supervises a group of children, such as in a daycare or preschool setting. In some cases, it is even used to refer to a person who teaches children, especially those who are very young and at a critical developmental age.
Sometimes, a child development associate works with children and their families to aid children in meeting developmental milestones. A person with this title may meet with children and their families in an office or go to a child's home to provide help, support, and guidance. In many cases, a person's goals for these types of visits are not only to help the child move forward developmentally, but also to help the child's parents learn how to assist and stimulate the child. Additionally, a person who has this title often has the goal of helping children get ready for eventual enrollment in school.
In some cases, a person with the title of child development associate works in a facility that provides care for young children. In such a case, this professional may have the primary job of providing supervision for small children. His job may also require him to keep the children entertained throughout the day and see to their personal needs, such as those that involve eating, using the bathroom, getting physical exercise, and resting, as considered appropriate for each child's age. A person with this title may also work to help children develop on an appropriate schedule and provide mentally stimulating activities to help them get ready for school.
An individual working in the child development field may also work as a teacher. Often, those who work in the teaching field as child development associates work with young children, such as those in daycare, preschool, kindergarten, or early elementary. This particular job is not just to educate students, but also to see to their developmental needs.
The education a person needs to become a child development associate may depend on the specifics of the job he seeks and the preferences of his employer. In many cases, a person can pursue a job in this field after earning a high school or General Educational Development® (GED®) diploma. Others may require a related certificate. In some cases, especially when jobs involve more responsibility or teaching above the preschool level, a person may need an associate's or bachelor's degree as well.