The University of Pennsylvania, a top private research university, is one of the eight oldest Ivy League schools in the United States. The University of Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the 2020 U.S. News Best National University Rankings. The University of Pennsylvania also has one of the most powerful alumni networks in the world. As of October 2019, a total of 36 Penn alumni have won the Nobel Prize. Famous alumni include architect, I.M. Pei, and poet, Huiyin

  • Dr. Valora Washington

    Former CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition

    Dr. Anice Dickerson

    CDA Development Experts and Instructor

    Joan Cusano

    PLN Technology Facilitator

    Lisa Chavenson

    PLN Guest Instructor

    Dr. Valora Washington, Former CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition, leads the largest credentialing program (CDA) for early educators in the USA. With over 30 years of experience, she is a recognized authority in early care and education. She has conceptualized, led, facilitated and executed significant change initiatives. Spanning higher education; local, state, and federal government; organizational development; research; and advocacy, her efforts have led to strategic changes for policy, programs, and practice in philanthropy, national organizations and local initiatives. She was chosen in 2018 by Exchange magazine as Doyens (the most respected or prominent person in a field). She is certified as an Association Executive and a Credentialing Specialist. She was chosen as one of “Ten Outstanding Young Women of America” from 62,000 nominations. Valora has authored over 50 publications, including Children of 2010 and Children of 2020.

    Dr. Anice Dickerson is one of the most experienced instructors in the CDA program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience, specializing in the training of kindergarten and preschool teachers.


    From 1990 to 2016, she served as the leading instructor of the senior vocational teacher training program and was mainly responsible for the training of new teachers in the early childhood education institutions of the School District of Philadelphia, as well as the approval and review of early educational courses in the school district.


    She was nominated for the Rosemary Mazzatenta Teacher of the Year Award. She is proficient in the research and development of cultural and language learning materials and has published many academic articles. Since 1996, she has provided lectures for more than 500 workshops and conferences on topics related to child development, multiculturalism, child abuse, parental relations, first aid, and AED, etc.

    Ms. Joan Cusano has over 37 years of education experience as a teacher in public and private schools and as technology director in two school districts. Prior to retiring, she served as Director of Instructional Technology, Radnor School District for 18 years. Joan is currently a PLN Technology Co-Coordinator, teaches online courses, and provides support to faculty using Schoology, PLN's learning management system. Joan has worked with PLN for over 20 years.

    Lisa Chavenson is a literacy specialist, consultant, and educator.  She has worked in the field of education for over 30 years and has worked for PLN for more than 23 years of those years. Lisa works as a PreK-12 facilitator with a specialty in early childhood education, as well as a mentor, coach, and consultant for family and parent programming. Lisa develops and implements new PLN courses and has worked in recruitment.



    US Time:


    January 7th, 2022- May 6th, 2022 (Monday, Friday)

    Before March 13
    -6:45am-8:15am(EST); 7:45pm-9:15pm(China)

    After March 13, 
    -6:45am-8:15am(EST); 6:45pm-8:15pm(China)

    *The application deadline for PLN CDA Credit Course (Spring 2022) is Jan 11, 2022.

    Download Registration Form

    Course Schedule:

    *Four sections a year, with a maximum of 25 people in each section, bilingual teaching in Mandarin Chinese, and English.


    *Online recorded lecture videos with two 90minute live streaming classes per week.


    *For the duration of the course, students can ask the instructors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) questions regarding course materials at any time. The instructors and TAs will respond at their earliest convenience.



    *The TAs will assist students with:

             - Purchasing and shipping textbooks;

             - Preparation of CDA credential application documents (according to the needs of the specific


             - Eligibility for free participation in lectures and exchange activities organized by ChildWise (Due to

               the impact of COVID-19, ChildWise's lectures and exchange activities will primarily be online.)

    Course Structure

    Application Fee:$80




    *The Application form of PLN CDA Credit Course must be submitted via email to:


    *After submitting the application form and paying the application fee, interview instructions will be sent to the applicant via email.


    *Due to the limited number of spots, students accepted into the program must pay 10% of the tuition fee as a deposit to secure their position.


    *Tuition fee includes the CDA written test, the CDA interview, and the CDA credential application fee.


    *Tuition fees include textbook fees and international shipping fees.

    • *Undergraduate and postgraduate students who are interested in the education industry.
    • *Individuals whose English proficiency are at least CET6.
    • *Educators with goals to further improve their teaching skills.
    • *Entrepreneurs in the early childhood education industry.
    • *Existing Penn students – who are eligible for a 20% tuition discount.



    The Child Development Associate® (CDA®) Credential is an international professional training and certification program provided by the Council for Professional Recognition and the CDA® Council for early childhood education (ECE) teachers. More than 1,000,000 people worldwide, spanning 25 languages, have obtained the CDA® certification. The CDA® credential is the most recognized certificate in the United States ECE industry. ChildWise's 120-hour Chinese and English course is suitable for early childhood educators and managers working with children ages 0-6. After 120 hours of study and 480 hours of internship, students can apply for the CDA® Credential. Individuals who obtain the credential can practice in all 50 states of the United States, as well as other countries that recognize the CDA® credential.


    The course content covers six competency areas including Safety and Health, Physical and Cognitive, Social and Emotional, Families, Program Management, and Professionalism. Through 13 functional areas and 45 units, the course offers in-depth analysis and solutions for practical problems during the development of infants and young children, providing professional knowledge and necessary skills for early educators. Outstanding students will have the opportunity to be recommended for employment or be invited to become a CDA® lecturer.

    Target Learners

  • Apply for a Scholarship

    ChildWise, headquartered in Chicago, is the only authorized agency by the Council for Professional Recognition to perform CDA training in Greater China. We aim to educate and select qualified early childhood educators while promoting a global standard for education and management quality in the early childhood education industry.


    As a leader in the field of international early childhood education training, ChildWise will set up scholarships to


    ChildWise Scholarship




    First Prize

    $15,000 USD


    ChildWise CDA International Institute Director or China/U.S. Executive

    *Graduated from an accredited university majoring in education;

    • *Master's degree or above;
    • *TEM-8 or equivalent qualifications (relevant certificates are
    •   required);
    • *Have 8 years or more teaching or management experience at
    •   international or bilingual early childhood education institutions.

    Second Prize

    $7,500 USD

    Employment in ChildWise

    ECE Program


    *Graduated from an accredited university majoring in education;

    • *Bachelor's degree or above;
    • *TEM-4 or equivalent qualifications (relevant certificates are
    •   required);
    • *Have 5 years or more teaching or management experience at
    •   international or bilingual early childhood education institution.

    Third Prize

    $5,000 USD

    Enrollment in ChildWise ECE Program

    • *Graduated from or currently enrolled at an accredited university;
    • *Bachelor's degree or above, currently enrolled in undergraduate
    •   program;
    • *English Level 6 or equivalent qualifications (relevant certificates are
    •   required);
    • *Have worked at an international or bilingual early childhood
    •   education institution and wish to enter the industry in the future.

    ChildWise ECE Program is a project for outstanding early childhood educators. The winners of the program will be prioritized for admission for the directors of CDA International Institution in the future.

    Step 1: Submit written application materials


    Students interested in obtaining the ChildWise International Scholarship can indicate their intent during the University of Pennsylvania CDA Program registration and submit the following materials:


          *ChildWise Scholarship Application Form

          *Certified copies of your previous graduation diplomas

          *College reports and transcript (current students)

          *English language proficiency test scores


          *Personal Statement

          *Criminal Record Check



    Application materials for the ChildWise Scholarship must be sent to, with the subject line: "ChildWise Scholarship Application"



    Step 2: Interview


    Once the application is received, the admissions team from ChildWise will arrange an interview over email within one week. Due to the pandemic, ChildWise will be arranging interviews online. Within 10 business days after the interview, ChildWise will notify application results via email.


    *ChildWise reserves the right to final interpretation of the interview results.


    Please note: The application deadline for the ChildWise Scholarship is December 12, 2021. Admissions are done on a rolling basis, and will be concluded either when enrollment is complete or when the deadline has passed

    Application Process

    Download Application Form

    encourage early childhood education talent in the University of Pennsylvania CDA Program, providing students tuition, resources and job opportunities.

  • *Written test (computer-based, 1 hour 45 minutes): 65 multiple-choice questions (60 multiple-choice questions with text only, 5 multiple-choice questions with pictures). Written exams are held at Pearson VUE Test Centers. Find a testing location close to you at:


    *Teaching observation (2 hours): A PD will observe a student’s teaching in real time, at the institution in which the student completed their 480 hours of internship experience.


    *Interview (1 hour): A separate appointment is required for the interview. A separate PD is required to conduct this part of the exam.

    1. After completing the course, how do I obtain a certificate of completion, transcripts and recommendation letters?


    After the course is over, the PLN of the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania will issue a certificate of completion for all students. Students can log on to the University of Pennsylvania Registration Office website, and use their own student PennKey to request a official physical transcript or digital transcript. A 10 dollar shipping fee will be administered.


    Upon course completion, graduates can use their PennKey for free access to resources provided by the university, including libraries, alumni career recommendations, online learning, etc. Specific resources are subject to UPenn school policy.


    ChildWise will also provide course completion certificates for students applying for CDA certification in the future.


    Students who are seeking employment opportunities or trying to complete academic applications may ask instructors for a recommendation letter.




    2. I am a student. Can the nine credits awarded by PLN be converted into credits for my existing courses?


    These nine credits are non-degree credits and are not part of the university's master's or doctoral program. However, in the past 39 years, many students who have completed their studies at PLN have transferred the credits obtained from PLN, school policy permitting. Examples include Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, Arcadia University, Holy Family College, Bank Street College of Education, etc. Among these, Community College of Philadelphia can transfer all nine credits, and Delaware community college can transfer at least seven of the nine credits.


    Please consult your school’s policy for more information.




    3. If I want to continue my studies at PLN in the future, can these nine credits help me exempt some courses?


    Each PLN course is independent, and therefore cannot be exempted.


    However, PLN has minimum work experience requirements for applicants, which may be fulfilled by the University of Pennsylvania CDA Program. In addition, students who have completed the UPenn CDA Program may continue their studies at PLN without having to reapply.




    4. How many types of CDA certificates are there?


    There are four types of CDA Credentials™. Each certificate corresponds to a different work qualification and teaching environment:

          *Center-based infant-toddler: suitable for students who plan to

            work with children ages 0-3 years old in a nursery center;

          *Center-based preschool: The second certificate is suitable for

            students who plan to work with children ages 3-5 years old in a


          *Home-based, family care: The third certificate is suitable for

            students who plan to work with children ages 0-5 years old in a

            home-based child care center;

          *Home visitor: The fourth certificate is suitable for students who

            plan to work directly with families caregivers in their individual



    Choosing which certificate to pursue depends on the age group of children the student intends to care for and the student’s preferred place of work. Students can choose to obtain a corresponding certificate to practice according to their personal interests. If a student is interested in obtaining multiple certificates and expanding their career, their coursework will be significantly reduced for additional certificates after completing their first certificate.


    At present, the CDA120-hour international certification training program is suitable for the first three certificates. The differences in course requirements are located in the Competency Standards textbook. Individuals will choose their desired course depending on their preference and/or work circumstances.



    • Textbook: Essentials for Working with Young Children, 2nd Edition;

    • Workbook: Essential Workbook, 2nd Edition;

    • The Competency Standards Guide


    The Competency Standards Guide varies depending on which certificate you are pursuing: Infant-Toddler (0-3 years old nursery certificate), Preschool (3-5 years old preschool certificate), Family Child Care (0-5 years old home-based childcare certificate), Home Visitor (0-5 year old visiting family homes certificate).


    Teaching materials will be sent to students who have successfully registered.




    6. Are there requirements to apply for the CDA exam?

    Requirements for applying for the CDA certificate exam are as follows:

          *High school degree or above

          *120 hours of training

          *Relevant 480 hours of childcare center experience within 3 years

            of applying for the exam. (Note: ChildWise recommends

            applicants to have 480 hours of experience within 1 year of





    7. How do I obtain the 480-hour internship? Does working at my own childcare center count towards my internship hours?


    Proof of internship needs to be provided by a licensed daycare and/or preschool. A licensed family care facility that you run can be used towards proof of internship. However, in theory, family childcare managers focus most of their time on management rather than practical teaching. For this reason, ChildWise will have the final ruling on a students' 480 hours of experience according to the CDA certification.




    8. What is the format of the CDA certification exam?


    The CDA certification exam includes a written test, teaching observation and an interview.

    5. How do I obtain CDA training materials?


    The CDA training materials includes three books:


PLN CDA Credit Course

Lin, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and world-renowned investor, Warren Buffett.


The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE) is the nation's top education school (ranked second in U.S. News in 2020) and has cultivated countless outstanding educational and scientific research professionals for global education. The Penn Literacy Network (PLN) is a comprehensive platform under the Penn Graduate School of Education for educators, ranging from preschool to university level, to improve themselves and their teaching capabilities.



In 2020, PLN and ChildWise, the Council for Professional Recognition’s only authorized institution in Greater China, jointly launched the CDA® International Certification 120-Hour Training Program. The program is taught by experienced instructors from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing 120 hours of study along with internship requirements, students can not only register for the exam and obtain the CDA® international credential, but also get a 9-credit transcript issued by the Penn Graduate School of Education as well as a letter of recommendation from an instructor, officially joining the Penn network.