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Advancing Early Education Collaborative (AEEC)

Advancing Early Education Collaborative (AEEC) is an initiative between American University, Trinity Washington University, and Martha’s Table.  

The aim of the partnership is to provide students with a seamless articulation of academic pathways across institutions with affordable tuition. There is also the potential for high school dual enrollment. 

The childcare crisis, comprised of ongoing issues of access, quality, equity, and funding in the District of Columbia’s early learning or “childcare” system for families with young children, has existed in the Washington DC area for some time and is further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and current instances of racism in the USA. Now, more than ever DC families need access to early childhood settings, with qualified, effective, professionally credentialed teachers, versed in anti-racist and culturally responsive pedagogy, to support their children’s growth and development. 

In the DC area there continue to be high school students who are interested in working in school settings but are unable to afford college tuition. For these students, through AU SOE’s participation in the Advancing Early Education Collaborative (AEEC) initiative, the CDA® program could be a pathway towards pursuing a college degree. 



American University now offers a CDA® program, with the goal of providing students the opportunity to prepare materials for the professional portfolio, and the 120-hour educational component necessary to obtain the CDA® Credential™. The CDA® course of studies can be completed in 4-8 months. 

CDA® students who complete courses at AU can transfer the equivalent of up to 6 credits to Trinity Washington University.

While taking CDA® courses at AU, students can also participate in volunteer opportunities at Martha’s Table as part of the Elevate Early Education agreement. Volunteer hours can then be used towards the 480 hours of experience working with children required for certification as a child development associate.

Child Development Associate (CDA®) Program

The School of Education at American University now offers coursework towards CDA® Program, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education.

Learn more about CDA®

Contact Us

If you are interested in signing up for the CDA® program, please contact Vivian Vasquez and Kara Lawrence.