First Up works directly with early childhood educators and professionals to help them reach their career goals. We offer best-in-class training, specialized for their needs, to support individuals and organizations throughout Delaware, Chester, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties, plus the City of Philadelphia.

Career Development & Training

The first eight years of a child’s life are critical to their educational development. What children learn before eight will shape how they learn forever, so who is teaching them matters tremendously.

That’s why First Up works directly with early childhood educators and professionals at all levels to provide best-in-class training that helps them gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to be successful. Plus, for practitioners in Pennsylvania, many of First Up’s trainings can help fulfill Keystone STARS requirements!

Our Career Development & Training opportunities provide a variety of affordable and accessible ways for professionals and practitioners to develop their expertise within the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE). We pride ourselves on delivering the highest-quality, reflective career development opportunities that foster a positive learning experience. We enable practitioners to confidently implement the latest educational strategies, create developmentally appropriate activities, and provide continuous quality improvements within their classrooms and, most importantly, within themselves.

If you’re looking for best-in-class career development and training opportunities for yourself or your staff, please contact Caroline Campana, Director of Workforce and Professional Development, to learn more about First Up’s current offerings.

Career Advising

An Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is only as good as the staff and educators responsible for implementing it. All too often, there aren’t enough resources for ECE professionals to get the training they need to sustain the high-quality programming our children deserve.

Less than 20% of early childhood settings (including child care, Head Start, and both public and private preschools) are of sufficient quality to contribute to the healthy growth and development of young children. Far too many programs provide custodial care, and a large percentage of the workforce has little to no formal preparation for this work. With the PHLpreK expansion efforts underway, now more than ever, the need for staff education resources and support is an urgent necessity.

Created with the wisdom gained from more than 50 years of on-the-ground experience, First Up’s Career Advising services are specifically designed to support regional ECE professionals. We’ve advised more than 400 educators working in PA Pre-K Counts sites through our partnership with the Philadelphia and Pottstown School Districts, and have active advising relationships with individuals and organizations at all levels of their journey, from entry-level to mastery.

First Up’s customized Career Advising opportunities can be tailored to fit a range of needs, but often include some, or all, of the following:

  • Individual career advising sessions to move educators forward on the PA Career Lattice and help them enroll in appropriate credentialing programs, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.
  • Director training to ensure administrators are well-informed about requirements and resources for staff development, budgeting for the true cost of quality child care and education, and recruitment and retention of qualified staff.
  • Meetings with representatives of higher education institutions to expand their ECE offerings and support them as they become T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA Scholarship schools.
  • Professional trainings and customized workshops for ECE providers, consultants, coaches, and directors in order to infuse their quality improvement system with a strong focus on career advisement and advancement. .

To learn more about our Career Advising options for individuals and organizations, please contact Caroline Campana, Professional Development Manager.

Leadership Development & Advocacy Training

At First Up, we believe that anyone can learn to be a great leader, no matter what their professional background or personal communication style may be. Our Leadership Empowerment Action Project (LEAP) has been specifically designed with a positive-focus methodology to help new leaders capitalize on the skills they already have, and develop new skills to become effective, compassionate leaders.

  • Identifying the components of leadership
  • Developing and refining key leadership skills
  • Understanding individual and organizational change
  • Analyzing economic and political issues in child care and education
  • Building interdisciplinary alliances

LEAP participants are encouraged to tell their own stories, understand their lived experiences in the context of our collective history and regional community, and then use this knowledge to identify steps toward change.

To receive information on eligibility and application deadlines for LEAP, please contact Pamela Haines, Director of Public Policy.

PA Early Childhood Fellowship

A joint effort with PennAEYC, the PA Early Childhood Fellowship program was launched in 2009 to train a new generation of early childhood leaders. Designed to educate, connect, and support emerging leaders working to effect positive change in the field of Early Childhood Education, the Fellowship has graduated more than 100 leaders who have gone on to leadership roles in programs, ECE initiatives, and even to the head of Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)!

Fellows are selected on a competitive basis and must be able to commit to five two-day sessions over the course of one year, plus one mid-week overnight stay in Harrisburg. Once selected, Fellows participate in 90 hours of group work, engage in local and statewide Early Childhood Education advocacy campaigns, and complete an individualized action plan.

In addition to the personal growth attained by completing this comprehensive training program, the Fellowship can also be useful for maintaining ongoing professional development requirements, such as PA Act 48 credits, Directors Credential renewal, and PA Keys professional development hours.

To learn more about the PA Early Childhood Fellowship, contact Pamela Haines, Director of Public Policy.