EST. 1967

Founded by a group of influential and progressive early childhood educators in the 1960s, our organization was founded as the Delaware Valley Association of Nursery and Kindergarten Educators (“DVANKE”).

In 1967, we affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (“NAEYC”) and updated this change to become the known as the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (“DVAEYC”).

As of Spring 2018, DVAEYC became First Up. Our new brand is a positive transformation for our organization, and also marks the conclusion of our longtime association with NAEYC. By moving away from a membership-based model, we are moving towards a more accessible and inclusive set of offerings tailored to fit the specific needs of ECE professionals in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

At its core, Early Childhood Education is about putting children first. Our new name, First Up, confidently embodies our core commitment to early educators. During a child’s first eight years, a high-quality early learning experience is critical to their social, emotional, and educational development. Our new name asserts that those first relationships that children develop with family, caregivers, and early childhood professionals are crucial in creating a path forward to success.


While our name may have changed over the years, we remain dedicated to our mission of ensuring educational opportunity for every child in our community. We will continue to train early childhood professionals in best practice skills and career development. We will coach early childhood education programs to meet the highest standards of PA Keystone STARS and national accreditation. We will never stop engaging policy makers to invest in the highest-quality Early Childhood Education throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Our goal is to ensure every child from birth to age eight has access to the highest quality care and education possible. We are committed to creating a path that allows them, and their teachers, to reach their full potential. We hope you will join us for our next 50 years of impact!