Partnership Formed to Create Child Development Training

Child Development Associate (CDA) credential training is on the rise in Southeast Alaska, thanks to a new partnership with Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida), the Association for the Education of Young Children Southeast Alaska (AEYC-SEA), and the Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) STEPS grant.

“We have more than doubled the number of people attending child development sessions in Juneau this year,” said Lisa Arehart, Professional Development Coordinator at AEYC and thread. “We are seeing new faces of people that have never attended training before, and they are so excited to be learning how to support children’s growth and development in the best way possible.”

This is critical because of the extent of the need for licensed childcare providers in Alaska. Out of the almost 64,000 children in the state, over 8,000 children have childcare needs that are currently unmet by their communities and almost 20,000 are in unlicensed childcare, according to thread data. Additionally, the annual cost of childcare will consume on average 11% of household income in Alaska, but this number sky-rockets for more vulnerable populations.  Single female households in the Hoonah-Angoon census area, for example, could expect to spend 67% of their income on childcare.

The partners – CCTHITA, AEYC-SEA, and the AASB – came together around the question of how to encourage and support adults working with young children to learn more about child development and increase the quality of care.

“Tlingit & Haida is a community partner and is committed to being a part of the solution to increase quality child care within Southeast Alaska so more parents can enter the workforce and provide for their families,” said Alice Bagoyo, Tlingit & Haida Child Care Manager.

During one of the trainings, one participant said, “I am excited to gain knowledge about early childhood development and move closer toward earning my CDA. I want to open my own childcare down the line.” Those not seeking to earn a CDA are also attending and leaving with valuable information and strategies. “I am gaining knowledge and skills that will be with me for a lifetime,” said one participant, while another expressed, “I have two children of my own and I watch other children and I want to be providing the best care for all of them.”

Why has participation doubled?  By working together to remove barriers, get the word out, and providing a welcoming experience. In partnership with Tlingit & Haida, the trainings are held in the auditorium of the Tribe’s Vocational Training and Resource Center, dinners are provided by Smokehouse Catering, and child care is available on site.

“Providing child care to parents while they attend sessions is an easy way for the Tribe to remove barriers and support current or aspiring child care providers who are wanting to incorporate early education practices,” said Alice Bagoyo.

Tlingit & Haida’s Child Care department also covers the training registration fees for those that pre-register by calling the AEYC office at 789-1235 or registering at

Also new this year is an early educator award for individuals that complete a CDA or university classes in early childhood. The $1800 award is meant to recognize the fact that most early educators participate in professional development on their own time, after long days with active children.  The AASB STEPS grant is matching Tlingit and Haida’s Child Care funding for awards that will be administered by AEYC. For more information about the initiative, contact Joy Lyon at or Alice Bagoyo at


Content provided to the AASB by Joy Lyon at the Association for the Education of Young Children and Alice Bagoyo at the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska