Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Interviewing for Child & Youth Program Assistant (Child Development Center)

I said awhile ago it would probably be after I stopped working at the daycare that I would end up posting about it. And today was actually my last working day, although I have some leave after this. So I’ll finally tell you about interviewing for the position of Child & Youth Program Assistant, which I did end up getting. Like the educational aid position I had checked several options under Child & Youth Program Assistant which were for various age groups and locations. In the beginning of April, I got an email from the program director of one of the Child Development Centers on post to interview for the position there.

He gave me a time range and wanted to see me that week. I picked toward the end of the week so I had a little time to prepare myself. That happened to be Good Friday so I told him if that wouldn’t work I could be flexible. As it was that was fine. On that Friday, I had my husband take me over to the center. Again I wore my suit and had my resume in hand. Fortunately it was close enough that I could walk if I got the position, and I did most of the time.

After I got buzzed in, I went to the front desk to let the receptionist know I was there for an interview. She gave me a sheet with questions on it to answer with things like “If a newspaper article were written about you, what do you think it would be important for people to know?”, “What hobbies do you do in your free time?” and a few other things.

The name-tag I got after I in-processed

I don’t remember exactly what I answered for them because I was pretty nervous trying to come up with something. After all, what’s said in an interview, one might not remember word for word, but that paper would be there after the interview for them to reference, and I wanted to make a good impression in case they used it to make their final decisions. I know I did mention that it’s important for me to help people, that I write and a couple of reasons why, and that I planned to learn to knit soon. It’s funny to read that now, over a year later, because I have needles, yarn, and a tutorial and have yet to sit down to start learning how to do it.

After that was done, I was lead to a room by the program director and the assistant director. The program director sat at his desk. I sat in the chair in front of him. And the assistant director sat on a couch behind me. They traded off questions, so I was looking back and forth a lot, trying to answer them. There were a few of the standard questions on what I’ve done before. Most of the questions were situational.

One I remember is “What would you do if two kids were flicking each other while you’re reading a story?” I said separate them. He asked what I believe an appropriate method of discipline is for a tantrum or fighting over something. I told him I would probably try to separate them or get them interested in doing something else together. I have also seen parents use time out which can work depending on the kid. I needn’t have said the last part. He said we don’t use time outs and the redirection I mentioned first was the answer. (Much later we got an updated memo that said we could use a ‘time out’ as long as the child wasn’t isolated from adults or the group).

Most of the interview was actually the director telling me about the position. Like with the previous position, potty training was brought up. I told him I babysat for a friend’s kid who peed on me while I was holding her. Not my favorite thing in the world to happen, but it didn’t send me running for the hills. (Good thing because in my year there I ended up going home to shower and change a couple times due to leaky diapers). He showed me the payscale and told me usually starting is $10.49, but because I have a degree, I should start at $12.49. He also said what I would start at was up to CPAC (the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center). I had seen that the requirements to meet skill level with a degree included needing 12 credit hours in early childhood education. So, I kind of expected the higher salary might not happen (which it didn’t).


The back of a coin I got on one of my last days of work

He asked if I had questions and I asked about how they decide which age you’ll work with. He said the training modules and that the way I completed them would partially determine that. I’d also do training and be supervised in each room to see where I fit best (I ended up being asked to start with the modules for infants and toddlers, and while I worked with other age groups, I spent most of the year working with toddlers). I didn’t find out a whole lot else about the training at that time. But I did find out that it counts for college credit, which was nice to know.

I later found out from the director that it specifically counts for 9 credits from Central Texas College for the classes CDEC 1311-Educating Young Children, CDEC 1313-Curriculum Resources for Early Childhood Programs, and CDEC 1318-Wellness of the Young Child. If I went on to get a CDA (Child Development Associate credential) that would count for an additional 3 credits. Much later, I found out that CTC will only give you the credit if you’ve taken 6 other credit hours with them, which would have been nice to know. I probably would not have completed as much of the modules at home as I had done (which wasn’t required) if I had known I ultimately wouldn’t use them outside of work.

The program director said that he would make his decision by the following Wednesday and that CPAC contacts those people for further selection after that. The director and I parted ways and the assistant director gave me a tour of all the different rooms in the building before we ended up back where we started. I thanked him for his time and told him I hoped to work with him soon. As it turned out, I did get selected and worked there for a year, so at some point I’ll tell you a bit about the process prior to beginning work (which was kind of extensive),  my initial experiences, and probably a few other childcare-related topics.

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8 Thoughts on “Interviewing for Child & Youth Program Assistant (Child Development Center)

  1. Wow this was great. I have a interview tomorrow for a lead child and youth program assistant at fort bragg. I am nervous. Do you know much about that position. I am currently a teacher assistant with local school district so I am def familiar with kids.

    • Thanks. I hope you did well on it. Sorry I don’t know much about that position. The room I was in most didn’t even have a lead assigned to the room most of the time I was there.

    • al21240 on August 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm said:

      hi, I am interviewing for a lead position and would like to know what kind of questions they asked you for that position. I know it has been a while, but any pointers would be appreciated. this question is for quetta1984.

      • Hi, sorry I wasn’t active on my blog at the time you posted this comment. Hope you did well on the interview or have found another position you like in the mean time.

  2. Natalie on December 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm said:

    Is an American Local National eligible to apply for this job? I’m not affiliated with the military and I’m so confused with the terminology! My husband is temporarily working in Germany and I thought I would give it a try to apply for a position within a base but I’m pretty convinced I’ve got null chances lol

    • I believe they do have slots for local nationals, but local national refers to host-country citizens (in this case, Germans). If you’re an American citizen, you would want to look for positions that have “United States Citizens”, “US Citizens”, or “All groups of qualified individuals” in the “Who May Apply” spot. Some are only eligible for certain categories of people like people already employed by the government, people already within the local commuting area, etc., so you’d have to look at each position you’re interested in. If your husband is only here temporarily, you’d probably have a better shot if applying for a temporary job rather than one listed as permanent. Good luck!

  3. Hannah on June 15, 2015 at 5:20 am said:

    Hi, I am looking to apply for this kind of position in Italy soon. I have a B.S.in Child Development and I was wondering what this job looked like on a daily basis. I was hoping you could give me some insight on this, please.
    I was hoping for more of a lead position in a child development center or an elementary school classroom.
    Any insight would be helpful. Thank you!

    • Hi. I’m not sure what kind of information you’re looking for about the day-to-day but I mostly worked in the toddler room. We had a lesson plan with a main indoor and main outdoor activity for the AM and different ones for the PM and rotated writing the weekly schedule among the room (though I understand that in other rooms this was typically the job of the lead, which we didn’t have for a while). The kids had breakfast, lunch, a two hour nap (which was mostly time for us to clean toys and such), and a snack with activities throughout the rest of the day rotating about every 15-20 minutes. Everything in addition to what was on the lesson plan was decided by the caregivers in the room at the time. We had a gross motor room indoors and a playground outside and tried to take the kids out as much as possible. Indoors they often had dance time. I didn’t have a lead position and didn’t have a lead in the room I worked in most of the time so I couldn’t tell you much about that except that I know they were generally expected to having a closing shift so parents could talk to them at pickup.

      I’m not sure if you saw that I also wrote this post about my first day rotating throughout the different age groups:http://embracingadventure.com/2013/09/03/my-first-day-at-the-child-development-center/

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