The Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI) was launched in the fall of 2015 with the explicit goal of supporting the development of young children from birth to eight in Southside Virginia. 

Children participating in Global Village program

The EDCI plans to accomplish this goal with a three-pronged approach that is designed to work in tandem to impact the quality of care young children receive.  We plan to develop a Longwood Early Childhood Development Center, offer free professional development opportunities for teachers, childcare workers, and parents of young children through Saturday Institutes, and expand our academic programs to include early childhood courses and degrees.

Professional Development and Community Outreach

An important element of the ECDI is providing free learning experiences for teachers, childcare workers, and parents of young children.  We are collaborating with other programs, inside and outside of the University, to connect people with resources that support their knowledge of and skills for working with young children.

We are also designing a professional development model that brings high quality learning opportunities to individuals and organizations working with young children throughout the region.  We are calling these opportunitiesSaturday Institutes: Educating Birth through Eight.  We plan to offer these Institutes at all of our affiliate locations: Farmville, South Boston, Martinsville, and Emporia.

Early Childhood Development Center

The Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) is currently in the data collection and design phase.  We have visited many University-based centers and have completed a childcare needs assessment of faculty, staff, and graduate students.  This information is helping us design our business model as well as the structure and philosophy of the center. 

We want the ECDC to grow into a comprehensive center that serves children birth through age five with general and special needs. Additional services will be offered for school-age children.  For more information about the design and plans for the center, please read the ECDC Proof of Concept (pdf) paper. 

This site will be updated in the fall as plans progress and more specific details are finalized.

Early Childhood Academic Programs and Degrees

As we state in our vision, we want to develop an early childhood degree program that aligns with associate degrees in the state to allow students to study early childhood education (ECE) through a four- or five-year degree program.

More information about ECE programs and degrees will be coming in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Contact Us

If you would like more information or are interested in getting involved with the ECDI, please contact:

Dr. Sara Miller
Dr. Sara Miller

Administrative Director of the Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI)
Assistant Professor, Education and Special Education 
213 Hull
(434) 395-2469

Ms. Katrina Freeland
Ms. Katrina Freeland

Special Assistant
Early Childhood Development Initiative
206 Hull