Signature Programs

Professional Development

First Up provides support and professional development for the ECE field through:

  • Learn and Earn programs that facilitate success in obtaining an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in ECE. First Up provides support with employer recruitment, mentoring, support with  on-the-job learning competencies, on-site coaching, competency alignment and Institute for Higher Education  support;
  • Offering a comprehensive Strength-Based Coaching Model and Leadership Development trainings to build capacity and support amongst the ECE field;
  • College-credit-bearing coursework that lays the foundation for a self-guided degree pathway with a Pennsylvania College or University. Students can earn up to 9 college credits to matriculate into an associate’s degree, and;
  • PQAS and ACT 48 certified Professional Development offerings to build knowledge and best practice skills of early childhood professionals to build upon their instructional practices, interactions with children, encourage family engagement and professional growth based on the specific needs of the professional.

Contact Caroline Campana to learn more about First Up’s Career Pathway opportunities.

Contact Nancy Nicewonger to learn more about First Up’s Professional Development offerings.


NAEYC Accreditation

NAEYC’s voluntary accreditation system sets professional standards for early childhood education programs and helps families identify high-quality programs. Seeking first time or re-accreditation? We provide coaching and resources to help your program gain accreditation. Contact Lisa Schultz for more information.


Coaching and Technical Assistance

Looking for expertise on a specific topic to support your Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Plan? Need assistance in helping staff apply what they've learned in trainings?

First Up provides the technical assistance and coaching to enhance your program:

  • Creating classroom environments to support children's learning;
  • Responding to challenging behaviors;
  • Leadership;
  • Business and administrative practices;
  • Classroom arrangement and management;
  • Positive interactions;
  • Health and safety, and;
  • Custom-designed solutions to meet YOUR needs!

Contact Lisa Schultz to learn more about First Up’s Technical Assistance and Coaching offerings.

Equity Initiatives

We know that providers continue to be severely impacted by systemic racism. First Up is engaging the ECE community in healing discussions about racial equity, highlighting expert learnings from the PRIDE (Positive Racial Identity in Early Education) Program of University of Pittsburgh. Using deep community engagement and ongoing trainings and communities of practice, we are helping to create the gold standard for trauma-informed practice in ECE with our Flourishing Together project. Get in touch with Lisa Browne to learn more about Equity Initiatives at First Up.

Our equity initiatives are supported through generous grants from The William Penn Foundation, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program, and PNC Grow Up Great.


Quality Improvement

EQUIP (Early Education Quality Improvement Program) extends and expands upon the model of United Way’s Success by Six program to assist STAR 2 providers attain (and sustain) STAR 3 through a diverse toolkit of assessments and coaching supports, while SELECT (Social Emotional Learning: building Efficacy, Competencies of Teachers) focuses on improving teacher interactions and practices to support children’s social-emotional development. Lisa Schultz can help you to determine how First Up can assist your program with Quality Improvement programs and services.

First Up is proud to offer both of these initiatives through grants from the The William Penn Foundation.

Teacher Wellness Project

The Teacher Wellness Project aims to support early childhood teachers’ ability to provide high-quality care by directly addressing the personal wellness needs of educators. By providing direct access to wellness supports to address the social and emotional needs experienced by teachers, we hope to decrease the impact of burnout and professional fatigue. Thus, further empowering teachers’ ability to provide quality impactful nurturing and care to their children, families, and themselves.

The Teacher Wellness Project seeks to connect and partner with culturally responsive, social justice-oriented agencies and providers offering various wellness supports and modalities! Examples include but are not limited to: Therapy/Counseling, Yoga, Meditation, Art services, and supplies.


Lois B. Cohan Museums to Go

This program is funded by an endowment started by Lois B. Cohan’s husband, Bob Cohan, and their children. The Museums-to-Go program opens on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, and will run through Thursday, November 30, 2023.  The program will award up to $600 to 20 ECE programs serving at-risk children and low-income families to bring cultural, art, music, theater and educational programs from outstanding local museums and institutions to Home-based childcare and childcare center classrooms. The award will be paid directly to your program of choice listed on the 2023 Museums-to-Go Participation List. Click here to apply!

Computing Solutions

Our Computing Solutions service offers technology setup and cloud-based solutions tailored to your needs. Get started today with a FREE Technology Assessment from First Up to help you make sense of the technology you currently have and create goals for the future, including a written Technology Plan you can use for budget and grant planning. Contact John Troncale to schedule your FREE Technology Assessment today!


Please support First Up's work by making a tax-deductible donation

Please support all ECE teachers and students by advocating for resources