About Us

Early Childhood Development Associates

We are an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of infants, young children, and their families.  We believe that first relationships are the most important.  When these relationships are positive, children will develop confidence in themselves, trusting relationships with others, and a hopeful view of the world.  How we are as parents is as important as what we do with our children.

The Early Childhood Development Associates invites parents to see the world from the perspective of their children. When we practice mindful parenting and focus on positive qualities, children learn about trust, caring for others and meaningful relationships. Children develop the social and emotional competence they need to be successful in school and later in life.

We are an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of infants, young children, and their families.  We believe that first relationships are the most important.  When these relationships are positive, children will develop confidence in themselves, trusting relationships with others, and a hopeful view of the world.  How we are as parents is as important as what we do with our children.

The Early Childhood Development Associates invites parents to see the world from the perspective of their children. When we practice mindful parenting and focus on positive qualities, children learn about trust, caring for others and meaningful relationships. Children develop the social and emotional competence they need to be successful in school and later in life.

Meet Our Team

Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT

Marilee is the founder and director of Early Childhood Development Associates. She is a licensed Child and Family Therapist who worked for many years in the Early Childhood Program at Cedars Sinai Medical Center with children ages 0 – 10 years old and their families.

Marilee is also a registered nurse with a child development specialty who worked in Pediatrics and the NICU. Marilee combines her medical experience with her knowledge of developmental psychology, her relationship-based mindful parenting expertise and her collaboration with specialists from a variety of disciplines to provide families with quality, individualized developmental care. In addition to leading groups, Marilee specializes in early childhood assessments and treatment of children and families. She also is an adjunct faculty member in the MFT department at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA.

Marilee is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 5. She reminds us that parenting is a life long journey!

 

Patricia Joseph, PHD

Pat is our Preschool Prep consultant and creator of our Preschool Prep curriculum. Pat came to us from the Center for Early Education. She is a busy grandmother of one adorable two year old. She supervises and oversees the curriculum here while also maintaining her directorship at St. James Preschool. Pat visits us periodically as a participant of our program, providing consultation and supervision to our teachers throughout the year.

 

Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC

Cynthia is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Infant Feeding Specialist with a Masters Degree in Metabolic Nutrition. She specializes in lactation, transitioning to solids, toddler “food wars” and gentle weaning. She has written for LA Family Magazine and Mothering Magazine and she facilitates breastfeeding and infant feeding workshops all over the Los Angeles area.

Cynthia is the mother of two wonderful grown daughters and enjoys sharing her own mothering experiences with new moms as they navigate the challenges of feeding their infants and young toddlers.

We welcome Cynthia as our feeding consultant and frequent guest speaker for our group programs.

 

Arielle Derhy, MA

Arielle Derhy, MA is returning as one of our Preschool Prep teachers. We are excited to have Arielle’s enthusiasm and love for working with young children as part of our team again. Arielle has experience working with children privately and through the Beverly Hills School District. She also received her Master’s degree from Antioch University and is currently working on her hours to become a licensed therapist. Arielle has had additional post master’s training at the Maple Center in Beverly Hills.

 

Joel Polachek

We are so happy to have Joel Polachek here at ecda. Joel has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and extensive training at the Maple Counseling Center. Joel thoroughly enjoys working with both adults and children. Currently he is one of the devoted teachers in our preschool prep program and also in our Toddler Groups. We are delighted to have Joel’s exuberant spirit here at ecda.

 

Beth Weisman

Beth is a very experienced parent educator in the community and currently is the parent educator at IKAR. She leads parent discussion for the parents and caregivers of the children who attend our Little Friends Group in our after school program on Wednesday at ecda and we are so lucky to have someone with her experience on our team. She has a Masters degree in education and has held positions as director and teacher in multiple educational settings.

Beth is the mother of two grown children and often shares her own parenting experiences with parents and caregivers in our after school program.

 

Katrin Baradarian

Katrin is returning as one of our Preschool Prep teachers. We are happy to have her long experience, enthusiasm and creativity here at ecda. As a teacher and mother of four, Katrin has a tremendous amount of experience working with young children. Katrin received her Master’s degree from Antioch University and is currently working on her hours to become a licensed therapist.

 

Daniel Munoz

We are so happy to have Daniel Munoz at ecda as a fourth year UCLA undergraduate student studying psychology. He came to our center as a UCLA intern as part of the curriculum for classes in his program and has stayed with us long after the completion of his classes. He truly enjoys working with children and parents and is looking forward to eventually getting his master’s degree in education and a multiple subject teaching credential. Daniel is an incredibly creative and enthusiastic teacher in our social skills group program. He co-leads both of our “Little Friends” groups on Wednesdays in our after-school program and helps with our toddler group program. He also does shadowing and “play partner” work for us in local preschools. Daniel is passionate about the work he does here at ecda.

 

A special word of thanks to the SmackSmog Team for the rebranding and redesign of our Website. SmackSmog is a Internet Marketing and Development team that helps local businesses from Los Angeles to New York. Patti Ring from SmackSmog was key in developing our new logo and website. Steve O’Bryan helped create our Content Marketing and Online Strategies. Contact SmackSmog for all your branding and marketing needs.