Tips for Building an Early Childhood Pathway

When you begin to build your early childhood pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to. We have put together some tips and resources to help you jump-start a new Early Childhood Pathway or build up existing courses.

Build your plan of study

As you begin to look at what you need in this area, a helpful website to go to is: They have a ‘plan of study’ worksheet that is editable. This helpful planning tool can be used to layout the courses you’ll need in your early childhood plan of study.

Review the Early Learning Career Pathways Initiative

The Early Learning Career Pathway Initiative has published the Credentialing in the Early Care and Education Field technical assistance report. These 6 key elements can help guide the development of your early childhood pathway.

Build an Advisory Council

Consider putting together an early childhood advisory council.  Choose these from a variety of settings and levels of responsibility to get a variety of viewpoints and input.

  • Invite 5-10 industry professionals to participate in an early childhood advisory council
  • Meet several times per year
  • Focus on outcomes – what are employers looking for
  • Are you teaching the right things?
  • Form partnerships for field experience, job-shadowing, guest speaker opportunities

Seek industry-recognized certifications

Many districts require that any career pathways created lead to industry-recognized certifications or credentials of some sort. The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in ECE. The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children.

The 6 goals of the CDA credential are:

  • To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment
  • To advance physical and intellectual competence
  • To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance
  • To establish positive and productive relationships with families
  • To ensure a well-run, purposeful program responsive to participant needs
  • To maintain a commitment to professionalism


Curriculum forms the content backbone to any effective program of study.  What you teach is just as important as how you teach. We can help you design your education and training program for early childhood.  We have dozens of lessons from a variety of curricula provided with our experiential learning resources. We’ve reviewed them and put together a recommended package of content for creating an early childhood program of study. Learn more by visiting our Pathways page for more information.



View our webinar on Building an Early Childhood Pathway to more tips and resources: