CentroNía Institute

CentroNia’s workforce development activities are designed to increase the number of high-quality early childhood professionals in the greater D.C. metropolitan area and provide educators with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to work with our youngest learners.

The CentroNía Institute promotes best practices in early childhood education. It works to create a highly trained workforce that can better foster the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth of young children.

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Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Program

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education. It is a key stepping-stone on the path of career advancement in early education and care.

CentroNía’s Gold-Standard Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Program equips students with the knowledge they need to obtain their credentials. The program is based on a core set of competency standards that guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers. CentroNía offers its CDA training program in Spanish, English, and Amharic.

Over the 6-month program (or 3-month accelerated program), CentroNía’s CDA candidates learn about:

  • the science of child development
  • intentional planning to support child development
  • developmentally-appropriate instruction & assessment
  • supporting culturally and linguistically diverse children
  • how to individualize lessons for young children with special needs

In addition to instructional support, candidates receive technical assistance to assemble their professional portfolio. By the end of the program, candidates meet all of the application requirements to request and pass the CDA credentialing exam.

In the past five years, more than 755 early childhood professionals graduated from the program and now work in centers across DC and Maryland.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • 18 years old and older
  • Current professional childcare experience in the District of Columbia (paid or volunteer) within the group setting you are applying for, including experience with young infants (birth–8 months), mobile infants (9–17 months), and toddlers (18–36 months) OR with children aged 3 through 5 years old (preschoolers).
  • We will need a letter from the director of your facility approving of at least 120 hours of volunteer/work experience in a licensed center or family home daycare (you will need to complete 480 hours by the end of the program).

To apply to our CDA program, fill out our interest form!

If you have any questions about our CDA interest form, please contact our CDA Coordinator:

Alfredo Monterrey - (202) 332-4200 ext. 1021

CentroNía Institute Reflective Practice Approach (CIRPA)

What is the CIRPA Toolkit?

CIRPA is a toolkit for early care and education practitioners to strengthen their ability to sustain quality teacher-child interaction and to create a stimulating and content-rich educational experience for children through intentional planning, documentation, assessment & reflective practices. CIRPA analyzes and provides tactics to improve scores for the ‘Instructional Support’ domain of the CLASS assessment, a scoring system used to evaluate the quality of early childhood classrooms. Along with the resources in the toolkit, CIRPA includes a professional development component followed by coaching and technical assistance cycles.


Current TeachStone data shows teachers score lower in Instructional Support when assessed through CLASS which means early childhood teachers struggle to connect cognitive development theory and practice. With the appropriate tools and support, teachers can learn to interpret and apply the latest research on brain development, developing and strengthening the necessary skillset to foster children’s development by encouraging them to make connections.

The CIRPA toolkit is designed to:

  • Enhance teacher’s understanding of child development
  • Strengthen teachers’ capacity to support positive outcomes for young children across all domains of development throughout the preschool day
  • Support directors and administrators in their role as educational leaders through coaching and reflective practice
  • Provide tools for practitioners to strengthen the quality of teacher/child interactions and to create stimulating, content-rich educational experiences for young children.
  • Teach and reinforce intentional planning, documentation, assessment, and reflective practices

CentroNía Institute offers a CIRPA Implementation Training that includes professional development, coaching, and technical assistance.