Early Learning Academy


Serving 316 infants, toddlers & preschoolers


Through the partnership with Rutgers-Camden, LEAP families benefit from the services and programs of the Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA). ELRA is an early childhood development and research center with programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The holistic model focuses on cognitive and socio-emotional development as important elements to address school readiness for urban children.

The mission of ELRA is to enhance the future school success of Camden City children from birth through age five by providing high-quality, research-based education and comprehensive wellness services while improving research and best practices in early childhood development and education.

Instructional Programs

AT ELRA, College begins at Birth!

Building a Strong Foundation for Learning

ELRA’s Infant and Toddler Development Program focuses on a language-rich environment for children to develop socially and cognitively.

It serves children from 8-weeks to 3-years old and offers a program that concentrates on the development of language and motor skills. The program incorporates an immersive dual-language approach that features bilingual (English/Spanish) caregivers.

Preparing Children for School Success

ELRA’s Pre-School Program serves children ages 3 and 5 and prepares students for success in kindergarten.

The Preschool places a strong emphasis on writing, language, science and math education. It also incorporates dual-language instruction, provides comprehensive health services, and engages parents in the education process. All ELRA classroom have a bilingual staff person.

Director's Message

At ELRA, Preparing for College Begins at Birth!

Welcome to the Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA) at Rutgers–Camden! Our Early Learning program represents the beginning of the LEAP Educational pipeline with our youngest children. The mission of ELRA is to enhance the future school success of Camden City children from birth through age five by providing high-quality, research-based education and comprehensive wellness services while improving research and best practices in early childhood development and education. We serve children as young as 6 months through age 5.

Children at ELRA receive personalized attention and care and are able to participate in a dynamic learning program that leads to school readiness.

In our school, learning takes place in a child-centered environment and our staff is dedicated to providing a happy and nurturing atmosphere in which children can develop a positive self-image and love of learning. The curriculum is diverse and flexible, offering varied and developmentally appropriate choices of activities. Our interactive programs build the foundation for reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. We have an open door policy, and families are encouraged to engage and participate in our program.

Stephanie Rogers, MHS



  • Building Administration


  • Infant Teachers
  • Toddler - A Teachers
  • Toddler - B Teachers
  • Pre-School Teachers
  • Instructional Assistants
  • Non-BOE
  • Floaters

Building Administration

Stephanie Rogers, MHS

Director, Early Learning Research Academy

(856) 614-3246swr@camden.rutgers.edu

Awilda Cruz

Program Manager for Infant & Toddler

(856) 225-6557awilda.cruz@brighthorizons.org

Hilda Rosa, CSW

Family Worker

(856) 614-3237hrosa@camden.rutgers.edu

Lissette Munoz

Family Worker

(856) 614-3238lissette.munoz@rutgers.edu

Norman Sepulveda

Family Worker

(856) 614-3246nbs65@camden.rutgers.edu

Infant Teachers

Brittany Grant

Teresita Serrano

Marcy Rivera

Selena Villanola

Ashley Josephs

Toddler - A Teachers

Judith Cunningham

Waheema Crouch

Erica Rivera

Mariely Rodriguez

Toddler - B Teachers

Thalia Luciano

Keilix Padilla

Alisha Perez

Nneka Adebi

Pedro Rosario

Cherel Gyamfi

Pre-School Teachers

Janet Cruz

Carlos Cruz

Edianne Quionones

Dahana Rivera

Yvette Giordano

Rosaline Diaz

Maritza Lopez

Michele Buehler

Duke Olurin

Carla Lowe

Sherrell Widgeon

LaTisha Thomas

Jennifer Stover

Danielle Arkainno

Edily Santos

Instructional Assistants

Eileen Diaz

Patria Jones

Ivonne Vargas

Elizabeth Conception

Carmen Melendez

Craig Bazan

Carmen Ramos

Nya Jones

Nilsa DeJesus

Carlene Coles

Lynda Brooks

Sandra Acuna

Aslix Padilla

Tania Rivera

Carlenes Flemening

Carlos Desba

Dana Ringo


Karibel Nunez

Reyes - Assistant Teacher


Evelyn Fernandez

Miligros Torres

Iris Rivera


View & Download Menus for Early Learning Academy Students

Food is cooked daily in each school. The staff works diligently to provide balanced and nutritious meals. Menus are available each week.


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Engaging Parents in Every Step of Their Children’s Progress

ELRA is committed to working with parents and engaging them in every step of their children’s progress. We welcome input, feedback, visits and your volunteer time. Our commitment to you extends to providing access to programs and services that target your wellness and development. At ELRA, we not only care for children, we care for families. Click here for more information on programs for parents.

For enrollment:

ELRA operates as a program unit under Rutgers University-Camden’s Community Leadership Center. Enrollment is open to families in the city and surrounding communities. Priority enrollment is offered to families with children currently at ELRA and the LEAP Academy followed by families that reside in the City of Camden.

Age requirements are as follows:
Infant/Toddler Program: 8 weeks
Pre-School: 3 yrs (by Oct. 1st)

ELRA operates 16 pre-school classrooms through a partnership with the Camden Board of Education. These are for families that reside in the City of Camden. ELRA also offers 1 classroom for Non-Camden residents.

To complete an application, for Pre-School please click here.
To complete an application, for Infant/Toddler Program please click here.
To speak with a staff person, call 856-614-3246.

ELRA Information and Forms