Collaborating for Pre-K Success

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


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 (CCTHITA), 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. 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,” said Lisa Arehart, Professional Development Coordinator at AEYC and thread.

This is critical because of the undying 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 AEYC data in Tableau Public. 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.  “By joining efforts to build a stronger workforce, this will also grow the capacity of childcare so more parents can enter the workforce and provide for their families,” commented Alice Bagoyo, Child Care Manager for CCTHITA.

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 together, and providing a welcoming experience.  The trainings are now held in the larger rooms at the Tlingit and Haida Vocational Technical Resource Center, dinners are provided by Smokehouse Catering, and childcare is available on site.  Tlingit and Haida child care assistance is also covering the training registration fees for those that pre-register by calling the AEYC office at 789-1235 or registering on the website.

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 proving a match to the Tlingit and Haida childcare assistance funding for awards throughout Southeast Alaska, and AEYC will combine to administer the awards throughout Southeast Alaska.   For more information about the initiative, contact Joy Lyon at or Alice Bagoyo at