New Community Resource Services Offers Thoughtful Help for Camp Fire Early Education Participants, a Camp Fire First Texas blog

Director of Early Educator Instruction

debra hanus

Debra Hanus, Director of Early Educator Instruction

In the realm of early childhood education, ongoing professional development is not just encouraged; it’s often mandated. This dedication to continuous learning ensures that educators are always at the forefront of teaching methods, understanding of child development, and care practices. Camp Fire First Texas stands out as a beacon for these educational pursuits, offering a variety of professional development classes that cater to the busy schedules of early childhood educators. Whether it’s a weekend seminar or an evening course, the opportunities are designed to fit into the demanding lives of those shaping young minds. But what exactly do these educators gain upon completion of such classes? The outcomes can be broadly categorized into two types: certificates and credentials. Let’s delve into what these terms mean by introducing two educators, Lilly and Jessica, who have chosen different paths in their professional development journey. 

Lilly, an assistant teacher for 2-year-olds, is relatively new to the field, with 10 months of experience. Her immediate goal is to fulfill the annual training requirement of 24 hours as stipulated by child care regulations. Lilly achieves this by attending short training sessions on Saturdays and utilizing online courses during the children’s nap times. Each session grants her a certificate indicating the hours of training she has completed. For Lilly, these certificates are tangible proof of her commitment to meeting the regulatory requirements and enhancing her skills in early childhood education. 

On the other side, we have Jessica, who has been nurturing 3-year-olds for nearly three years and leads her classroom solo. Unlike Lilly, Jessica seeks to exceed the basic training hours required each year. She opts to participate in Camp Fire’s Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program, a comprehensive initiative that offers not only classroom mentoring and diverse training opportunities but also a pathway to earning a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and a non-expiring U.S. Department of Labor credential. This CDA credential, which is nationally recognized and valid for three years, signifies a deeper understanding and capability in early childhood education. Jessica’s ambition is to expand her knowledge and skills well beyond the minimum requirements, positioning herself as a leader in the field through the attainment of a prestigious credential. 

The distinction between certificates and credentials in this context is clear.  

  • Certificates, like those Lilly earns, represent the completion of training hours and are essential for meeting regulatory standards.  

  • Credentials, however, as Jessica pursues, indicate a more profound level of expertise and commitment to professional development, often involving comprehensive programs and assessments. 

For those interested in exploring the rich professional development opportunities offered by Camp Fire, including both certificate and credential paths, visit our website for more information. Whether you’re starting your journey in early childhood education or looking to elevate your career, there’s a path designed to support your growth and success. 

Have questions about your future educational plans? Contact us or call 817.831.2111, ext. 145.