Early Childhood Learning Institute

Website._Student_Page._advancement5904 Richmond Highway
Suite 525
Alexandria, Virginia

(571) 480-4098

9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Monday - Friday

The Early Childhood Learning Institute (ECLI) encourages and supports teens and young adults in their quest to earn professional credentials and college credits in Early Childhood Education, gain permanent employment in local childcare centers, and build career success in the field of Early Childhood and/or Elementary Education.


The ECLI is not for everyone.  Only a select few driven and committed individuals are admitted to the ECLI.  In order to be considered for admissions to the ECLI you must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalency, and the first in his/her immediate family to attend college;
  • Are currently unemployed or under-employed, and seeking employment, career advancement, or career change;
  • Have household incomes at or below 185% of federal poverty;
  • Demonstrate the willingness and aptitude to perform college-level academic work, including English language proficiency; and,
  • Meet the requirements for admission to community college.  
Over two years, the program offers the following services to students:
  • College Classes: ECLI students are able to attend college classes taught by Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) adjunct faculty and held on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings at Hopkins House.  Arrangements are made, as needed, to accommodate the full participation of persons with disabilities.  ECLI students can earn up to 16 college credits per year, for a maximum of 32 credits over two years, by completing the following classes:
Language Arts for Young Children (3 credits)
Introduction to Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
Teaching Art, Music and Movement to Children (3 credits)
College Composition I (3 credits)
Child Psychology (3 credits)
College Success Skills (1 credit)
Introduction to Reading Methods (3 credits)
Observation/Participation/Early Childhood/Primary Settings (3 credits)
Infant and Toddler Programs (3 credits)
Guiding the Behavior of Children (3 credits)
College Composition II (3 credits)
Lifetime Fitness and Wellness (1 credit)
  • 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 their portfolio. 
  • Individual & Group Counseling: ECLI students have access to individual and group academic, financial aid, and career counseling. 
  • Workshops: ECLI students can attend professional development workshops on a range of subjects, including dressing for success, punctuality, professional communications, conflict resolution in the workplace, teamwork, customer service, and social media do’s and don’ts.  
  • Internships:  ECLI students are offered internships at local child care center in order to gain practical work experience.  Internships are arranged according to the ECLI student’s work and study schedule.
  • Wrap-Around Support: ECLI students also have access to computers and child care during program activities (as needed), text books, and study materials, and a copier.
Students who complete the ECLI over two years earn the following benefits:
  • CDA Credential: Conferred by the Council for Professional Recognition, the CDA is the minimum required professional certification for employment at most child care centers. 
  • Career Studies Certificate: This college certificate denotes completion of 16 college course credits or one-quarter of the credits required for an Associate’s degree.
  • 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’s degree.
  • Fulltime Employment: ECLI graduates are offered full-time employment at local child care center at a salary of $25,000 or more plus medical and other benefits.
The cost of tuition to attend NVCC is covered through federal, state, and college financial aid. Students pay a nominal fee of $100 per semester to cover a portion of the cost of textbooks, access to computers, and child care and tutoring (if needed). 
* 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. Click here for more details: Fellowships.
Additional Financial Resources to Help with College Expenses: Planning for the financial reality of a college education is crucial for students who are preparing for college. With a carefully formulated plan, it is possible for you to graduate from college debt-free or with a greatly reduced financial burden. To learn about strategies to save before college, ways to reduce cost of living as a college student, and information about college loans, scholarships, and work study programs, click HERE.
Watch this video to learn more about how the ECLI can change your life and set you on the road to a rewarding career in the field of Early Childhood and /or Elementary Education fields: