About Us

Our Mission

To be a training institute of excellence for Special Education Services in early childcare programs, schools, hospitals, and community settings.

Dr. Essence Allen-Presley - Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Allen-Presley has over 15 years of experience in the field of education. Dr. Essence Allen-Presley is the current owner of I.C.U. STEM Academy a STAR 4 childcare program in Delaware County. She is the founder and President of The Childcare Institute of America (TCIOA), which is the non-profit umbrella for several organizations including the Education Institute for Early Intervention, a Career Institute for Early Childhood Professionals.
Dr. Allen-Presley’s currently works for Widener University as an Assistant Professor of Teaching and the Program Coordinator for Special Education. Dr. Allen-Presley has contracted with several companies including Milagre Kids, 1199c, Community College of Philadelphia, and Penn Literacy Network. Her previous roles include Director of Direct Service and Special Projects at Elwyn Institute and School District of Philadelphia where she served in various teaching and administrative positions for 11 years.
Dr. Allen-Presley collaborates and trains childcare programs and various organizations throughout the region on multiple ways to enhance their services to children with special needs and behavior challenges in early learning programs. Dr. Allen-Presley published a book in 2015 titled, The
Influence of Attachment Theory Professional Development on the Day-to-Day Interactions between Early Childhood Professionals and Infants in Childcare Facilities. The book examined whether providing professional development on attachment to early childcare professionals (ECP) influences the day-to-day interactions with the infants in their care. To date, professional development and formal education is lacking at the pre-kindergarten level of early childhood education and early intervention, which was her motivation for starting a Career Institute. Dr. Allen-Presley continues to advocate at the local and state level to increase the training and education of early childcare professionals around special education. Dr. Allen-Presley has presented at various conferences, lectures, and seminars throughout the city of Philadelphia and in the state of Pennsylvania. She understands the need for QUALITY childcare programs and its impact on school readiness in the K-12 system. Dr. Allen-Presley was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Strawberry Mansion High School. She earned a BA in Criminal Justice at Southern University of New Orleans, and a doctoral degree in Education Leadership from Saint Joseph University She holds two master’s degrees, one in Urban and Regional Planning (University of New Orleans) and in Special Education (West Chester University) She also holds a Special Education, K-12 Leadership, Special Education and Curriculum & Instruction Supervisory Certificates in the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Allen-Presley is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (Omega Omega Chapter)


Cynthia MB Robinson - Instructor

Mrs. Cynthia MB Robinson is married with 5 adult children, 4 grandchildren, and 1 great grand. She received her Masters of Education Degree, her Bachelors of Science Degree in Child Care Management, and her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education/Cum Laude. Mrs. Robinson is an Educator, Master Provider, Transformational Coach and an Advocate within the ECE Community of Professionals. She just retired from being the owner of “Mrs. Cynthia's Munchkin Romper Room”– FCCH, after 23 years of
community service, where she was and still is an entrepreneur and ECE leader. Mrs. Robinson is a certified “Second Helping & Master Provider” instructor, who teaches and trains “An Advance Course for Family Child Care Professionals”. She also holds certifications as a PQAS instructor, Infant Massager instructor, as well as one of the instructor’s at the “Education Institute for Early Intervention” (EIEI). Mrs. Robinson is very passionate about the ECE Community and profession. She strives to encourage, empower, and transform her Professional Colleagues within
the ECE Profession and Network.


























L’Vonne McMillan

L’Vonne McMillan brings a unique perspective to her work as a parent, an advocate and an educator for the past 10 plus years. CEO L’Vonne McMillan is a parent of a child with a special
health care needs who successfully advocated for developmental services that have assisted her son in his daily needs and in his school setting. A Philadelphia native, L’Vonne McMillan has worked with various agencies providing one-on-one instruction and early intervention for clients with various special needs which include autism, Down syndrome, and mental health disorders. She has a wide range of experience in the social service field, as well as being a lead classroom teacher at various locations. In June 2004, she began offering tutoring and has provided many families with instruction and support in general mathematics, algebra, geometry, reading, reading comprehension and writing. As a result of her passion, she started the Marie Morgan Educational
Center, Inc. in honor of her maternal grandmother. Due to the ongoing health needs of her son,
the development and opening of the center has been delayed. As her son’s health is maintained
and stabilized she has been able to embark on several different opportunities working with
women and children.
L’Vonne has also chronicled her experiences as a mother of a child with special needs and educator in two collaborations with author Ericka Gilchrist, Women Thriving Fearlessly Volume
1 and Women Thriving Fearlessly Mother’s Edition. L’Vonne McMillan is also a published author and in January of 2019 published her first children's book titled “What About Me?” This book describes the challenges of a child, from a child’s point of view, to address the importance of inclusion and the importance of incorporating of early childhood intervention strategies. Advocate For Me, LLC a Philadelphia based organization that was established to offer trainings to families and childhood service providers to empower them with information, advocacy skills and resources that will enhance the quality of life for every child with special needs that they encounter. Advocate For Me LLC offers interactive training systems that will prepare individuals and organizations with the awareness and the tools they need to be of maximum service to children with special needs.

Minnette G. Taylor, M.Ed., EMT

The owner of G & T Daycare Montessori School, a STAR 4 childcare program in Philadelphia which
was established in 1998. The founder and Executive Director of Mini Montessori Academy, which is
a non-profit 501(c) (3) consultant and research company. She serves as a coach for the Pennsylvania
Apprenticeship program and the Assistant Program Director of the Early Intervention Education
Institute (EIEI)
Minnette earned a dual bachelor’s in Management and Education and a master’s degree in Early
Childhood Education Montessori Teaching from Chestnut Hill College. Minnette holds a Pennsylvania
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license, Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System as a certified
PQAS trainer and AMS Montessori teacher, NAFCC trainer and observer, Child Development
Associate (CDA) PD Specialist.











Adrienne Briggs - Students Mentor

Adrienne Briggs is an early childhood educator. Before entering the childcare field I was a food service supervisor for ten years. I have delivered childcare services for over twenty-five years. I own and operate Lil’ Bits Family Child Care Home, which is a high-quality Keystone
Star 4 facility. As an educator, I continuously attend professional development training on child development, health, and safety. I have over a thousand hours of training from workshops, conferences, and schools in the areas of child development, management, and other topics dealing with the early childhood field. As a professional, I make every attempt to
stay current with new information. Over the years I have earned numerous awards and certificates. My most recent accomplishments were becoming a PQAS Technical Assistant Coach and renewing my PA Director’s Credential. I graduated from West Chester University obtaining my Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Previously, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Child Care Management, an Associate in Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Child Development Associate Credential. Additionally, I also graduated from the Women’s Business Development Center’s Family Child Care Entrepreneur’s Program. As a high quality professional, I am involved in the Keystone Stars program with a STAR 4 rating. This affirms a level of quality that is substantially higher than required by state licensing. Furthermore, I am certified in first aid and infant/child CPR. I have been coaching or mentoring adults and teens for over twenty years.








Our Numbers





Children ages 1-5 experience suspension, expulsion, and fell to return to programs because of their behavior(s). Many full/part-time childcare professionals lack training and experience to support and accommodate children who learn differently or receive an Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP’s) and Individual Education Plans (IEP’s).

In Pennsylvania, there are over 52,000 children between the ages of 3-5 receiving special educational services. The numbers are steadily increasing, since the data collected in 2015-16 school year that indicated a 13% increase in students receiving specialized services.

Program’s Philosophy
• Educate the early childcare workforce to provide appropriate teaching and learning services to children entitled to IDEA services
• Invest in the workforce with a commitment to equity and integrity for the most vulnerable learners, children
• Embrace the individuality of children
• Initiate change, growth, and innovation with parents, business owners, stakeholders, and community partners in programs