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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL G The CDA Professional Portfolio is now a resource you can actually use in your work with young children and families. Feel free to continue to add resources to the portfolio after earn- ing your credential. Some of the Resource Collection items are similar to those that were collected for the Professional Resource File, but they now appear in different contexts. For example, the candidate will still describe nine activities but is now given specific developmental/ learning areas on which to focus. The new Resource Collection will enable the candidate to visit more websites for information, which is a logical change, since the Internet is generally the first place most of us search for what we need. Candidates will still be locating community resources, such as translation services and agencies that work with children who have special needs. However, these resources will now be grouped together into one section of the Professional Portfolio designated as the Family Resource Guide. CDA 2.0 also requires that the CDA candidate take on more personal responsibility in the credentialing process. Locating a Professional Development Specialist (also called the PD Specialist) and scheduling the CDA Exam and verification visit are now tasks for the candidate to complete. The candidate will also review the Family Questionnaires that she has collected and will interpret the feedback as it applies to her practices. At the verification visit, it will be the candidate who reflects on her professional strengths and areas for future growth in order to set personal goals and then strategies for meeting them. This new personal responsibility gives the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate the characteristics of a professional in the field—making decisions, reflecting and evaluating, and taking steps to improve practices. All of these changes may appear to be a paradigm shift, bring- ing with it some uncertainty and confusion. This third edition of The CDA Prep Guide will help you navigate the new CDA process and become comfortable with it, so you can accurately complete the requirements and be fully ready for a successful verification visit. Pursuing a CDA Credential CDA candidates have had varying amounts of child care training, through college classes, in-service trainings, or attendance at a va- riety of workshops. Many are working on a degree or have already earned a degree in a related area of study. Those who are new to the field may have just begun learning about child development and educating young children through their CDA training hours. The reasons early child care and education providers are interested in pursuing a CDA Credential are as varied as their backgrounds. Some who are already working in the field may need to earn their CDA to retain their positions, advance into lead x COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction