Experience the joy of creating fun and amazing activities for children who are full of life and love learning. Influence the future of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers by shaping their intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. Utilize critical and creative thinking skills necessary for working with young children. This Child Development Associate (CDA)/Equivalency program provides the advanced credentials necessary to meet Department of Children and Families (DCF) licensing standards.
The purpose of the Early Childhood Education program is to prepare students for initial employment and career advancement in the field of early childhood education. Job opportunities are available as child care aides, child care workers, attendants in children’s institutions, nursery school attendants, school or playroom attendants, or preschool teachers.
The content includes, but is not limited to, conducting activities which promote physical, intellectual, emotional and social growth, and development of children; clean and healthy environments; nutrition, health, and safety; awareness of child abuse and neglect signs; rules and regulations which govern child care; and interpersonal relations.
The state of Florida has approved Fort Myers Technical College’s Early Childhood Education program for the mandatory 45-hour child care training. The Fort Myers Tots Learning Center has earned Gold Seal Quality Care Program status through the Florida Department of Children and Families Office of Child Care Regulation and is accredited by AdvancED SACS Florida. This program is designated as a program granting the DCF Staff Credential through its Early Childhood Professional Certificate, which is granted through the Florida Department of Education.
The Center operates a DCF-licensed (C20LE7526) child care center, Fort Myers Technical College Tech Tots Learning Center. Students may utilize this quality preschool program for 4-year old children that have a VPK voucher. The hours are from 7:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. Students do not pay for Monday – Thursday and on Friday, a non-VPK day, the charge is only $12! Children are fed a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and two snacks daily. Please see Mrs. Hernandez or Mrs. Singh if you are interested in enrolling your child.
The following table illustrates the program structure:
Child Care Worker 1
Child Care Worker 2
Teacher Aide (Preschool)
600 hours. Approximately 5 months.
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What You’ll Learn
- State-Mandated Training (DCF)
- Orientation to Early Childhood Careers
- Career Ready Practices
- Childcare Regulations
- Health, Safety, and Nutrition for Young Children
- Child Development
- Assessment Methods
- Recognition of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Emergency Literacy
- Development Appropriate Practices for Young Children
- Inclusion of Children with Special Needs
Career Ready Skills
- Act as a responsible and contributing citizen and employee.
- Apply appropriate academic and technical skills.
- Attend to personal health and financial well-being.
- Communicate clearly, effectively and with reason.
- Consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of decisions.
- Demonstrate creativity and innovation.
- Employ valid and reliable research strategies.
- Utilize critical thinking to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Model integrity, ethical leadership and effective management.
- Plan education and career path aligned to personal goals.
- Use technology to enhance productivity.
- Work productively in teams while using cultural/global competence.
- Staff Credential, Florida Department of Children and Families (FLDCF)
- Early Childhood Professional Certificate (ECPC), Florida Department of Education (FLDOE)
- Introductory Childcare Training Parts I and II, Florida Department of Children and Families (FLDCF)
- Students become proficient in using the Department of Children and Families website (www.myflorida.com/childcare) to manage their State-mandated training and assessments.
- Students are introduced to using “Teaching Strategies Gold,” an assessment system for observing young children aligned with state and national early learning standards and guidelines.
- The instructor of this program uses a web-based grading program so students take charge of monitoring their own grades.
- Hands-on experience is gained through assignments in the Fort Myers Tech Tots Learning Center program.
- Additional student teaching experiences with infants, toddlers, and VPK programs are gained through the Early Learning Services Program with the School District of Lee County.
- Students develop bulletin boards, learning games, folder games and activities to build their file of teaching materials.
- Students develop a Professional Resource Portfolio that meets the requirements for the Early Childhood Professional Certificate (ECPC), and also parallels the requirements for a National Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).
Students who complete this course can expect to earn a starting salary of $11+ per hour in the following industries (Actual wages vary according to education, experience, and certifications.)
- Child Care Centers
- Head Start
- Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, public and private primary schools.
- School age child care
- Programs for individuals with special needs
- Public school paraprofessionals as defined by No Child Left Behind Act
- Child care resources and referral agencies
- Early intervention programs
According to O’Net Online, jobs for preschool teachers are expected to grow 13% in Florida between 2014 – 2024.
Steps to Enroll
- Attend an Information Session (Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday at 1:00 p.m. [when school is in session])
- Meet with an admissions specialist
- Take the TABE test, if applicable
- Obtain official transcripts, if applicable (high school, GED, college, etc.)
- Apply for financial aid (official transcripts required)
- Provide appropriate residency documents
- Complete application packet
- Pay application fee
Important Information to Know:
- High school diploma or GED is required for certification
- All potential students must submit a satisfactory Level 2 Background Screening (fingerprints) prior to enrollment in the program
- This program has a statewide articulation agreement approved by the Florida Board of Education.
- Donna Hernandez
- (239) 334-4544 ext. 312