Frequently Asked Questions

Who can become an apprentice?

A person can enroll in the Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist program if working a minimum of 20 hours a week providing care for children in a supervised setting. The person must be motivated to further their career in early care and education and make a commitment to the program.

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What topics does ACDS training cover?

ACDS classroom training covers the following topics:

  • Role of early childhood professional
  • Child development
  • Observation skills
  • Developmentally appropriate curriculum
  • Health and safety
  • Positive guidance
  • Effective communication
  • Diversity
  • Ethics
  • Administration
  • Resources

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Why do you have to be working to enter the program?

The Apprenticeship model is based on the idea that adults learn best when there is a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Providers who participate in the program can practice what they learn at work, in a supervised environment. An apprentice can have practical experiences about such things as

  • observing children
  • classroom management
  • partnering with families
  • communicating with staff
  • practicing first aid, health and safety
  • advocating for children
  • community involvement
  • teaching children in the child care environment

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What kind of recognition is received when the program is completed?

Upon completion of the training program, an apprentice receives a nationally recognized certificate as a Child Care Development Specialist from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Can we hold two classes per week in order to catch up?

ACDS Policy is one class per week. Apprentices need to have enough time to do all their homework, observations, etc. It is a good idea to build an extra day into your syllabus just in case you have to cancel class for bad weather. Then if you don't need to use it, your apprentices will feel like they got out early.

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Do we have money for graduation? Who pays for pins?

There is no state money for graduation or pins unless the county decides to use a minigrant for these purposes. Many apprentices pay for their own share of graduation or their directors might pay for their part. Graduation can be as simple as punch and cake or dinner for the whole family. It could be covered dish, etc., whatever the apprentices choose to do.

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Are family providers allowed to take ACDS classes?

Yes, family providers are strongly encouraged to participate in the ACDS program. Family providers will be provided a mentor to serve as a supervisor while participating in ACDS.

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How do you become an ACDS instructor?

To become an instructor, you must submit an application, be accepted and attend a two day academy. To qualify, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood, child development, elementary education or closely related field and have at least one year of experience working directly with child.

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Are there classroom resources available for instructors to use?

Every local council has supplemental materials for each semester of ACDS. These resource materials are kept at the local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency and are loaned to instructors on a semester basis.

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Are there established time frames stating when classes need to begin or end?

Classes can start and end whenever the county chooses as long as the classes are held for 15 weeks.

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Where do I get certificate of completion forms?

These forms are sent by the Department of Labor to the sponsor of each registered program. It is up to the sponsor to complete this form when each apprentice completes all their classwork and their required OJT hours.

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I recently began working at a different child care center. Are there any forms for me to complete?

There is a change of status form that you can get from your instructor, or call the ACDS office, or go on the website. The form should be completed and given to your instructor.

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