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Early Childhood Learning Institute

If you are seeking a college degree, college credits, and stackable professional certificates, permanent employment and career success, tutoring and test-taking preparation help, one-on-one support and guidance from Success Counselors who are available evenings and weekends, and a comfortable, warm, and supportive environment in which to learn, the Early Childhood Learning Institute (ECLI) is for you. 

The ECLI is a 3-year program that offers:

  • College Classes: ECLI students attend college classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), which are held around your work schedule (e.g., evenings and weekends).  You can earn up to 16 college credits per year, for a maximum of 32 credits over three years — for free.
  • CDA Credential: ECLI students receive assistance completing and submitting their application to the Council for Professional Recognition for the Child Development Associate (CDA) professional credential, including help preparing your portfolio.
  • Individual & Group Counseling: ECLI students have access to individual and group academic, financial aid, and career counseling at times convenient to you.
  • Workshops: ECLI students attend professional development workshops on a range of subjects, including dressing for success, punctuality and time-management, professional communications, conflict resolution in the workplace, teamwork, customer service, and social media do’s and don’ts.
  • Paid Internships: ECLI students are offered paid internships at local childcare centers — arranged according to your work and study schedule — to gain practical work experience.
  • Wrap-Around Support: ECLI students have access to free childcare (during program activities, as needed), loaner computers, textbooks, study materials, and a copier.

Students who complete the ECLI graduate with the following benefits:

  • CDA Credential: Conferred by the Council for Professional Recognition, the CDA is the minimum professional certification required for employment at most childcare centers.
  • Career Studies Certificate: This college certificate denotes completion of 16 college course credits or one-quarter of the credits required for an associate degree from NVCC.
  • Early Childhood Development College Certificate: This college certificate denotes completion of 31 college course credits or half of the 67 credits needed for an associate degree from NVCC.
  • Fulltime Employment & Higher Pay: ECLI graduates are offered full-time employment at local childcare centers at a highly competitive salary plus medical and other benefits.

ECLI is free and open to the public, regardless of residency or income.

  • Limited financial assistance is available for students in need. The cost of tuition to attend NVCC is covered through federal, state, and college financial aid.
  • No interest loans are available to current ECLI students to cover other costs you may have, such as public transportation to and from campus.
  • College Fellowships of up to $1,250 are available to current ECLI students. These grants may be used for fees, transportation, or purchase of items directly related to their pursuit of a college education through the ECLI.

The ECLI is free and open to the public. To be considered for admissions to the ECLI you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalency.
  • Be currently unemployed or under-employed, and seeking employment, career advancement, or career change.
  • Have household income at or below 200% of federal poverty level (e.g., $49,720 or below for a family of 3).
  • Demonstrate the willingness and aptitude to perform college-level academic work.
  • Meet the requirements for admission to community college.

If you’re excited by what you have read so far, watch this video and learn more about how the ECLI can change your life and set you on the path to a rewarding career in the Early Childhood and/or Elementary Education field:

City of Alexandria

Helen Day Preschool Academy

1224 Princess Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Fairfax County

James L. & Juliette McNeil Preschool Academy

8543 Forest Place
Fairfax, VA 22309

For Enrollment Information:

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