About Us


HILLTOP EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES is a consulting agency that succeeded HILLTOP Early Childhood CENTER. The center was a non-profit nursery school and kindergarten founded in Queens, NY in 1983. Since 1983, the name HILLTOP has meant excellence in:

  • quality early childhood education
  • nurturing of children, staff, and families
  • advocacy for high-quality, appropriate, child-centered, inquiry-based education suited to each child’s needs.
  • positive relationships with licensing and regulatory agencies

Hilltop Early Childhood Services is more than 24 years old! We are proud to Help Adults to Help Young Children in so many ways. Our services have been provided in person, by phone, and online, in many areas of the country. We are always interested in new avenues to help.

What is Our Philosophy and Our Mission?

To Help Adults to Help Young Children – through practicing the 5 core values of:

  • Honesty/trustworthiness
  • Respect for self
  • Respect for others
  • Respect for the environment
  • Good citizenship (not political, but as as member of any and all groups such as faculty, classroom, etc.)

Combined with:

  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Knowledge of child development
  • Knowledge of current research and menthods
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • The belief that EVERY child can benefit from and deserves to be offered high quality education from 
  • knowledgeable, well-paid, and kind staff

Who is Our Founder?

HILLTOP EARLY CHILDHOOD SERICES’ founder and principal consultant is Ellen Cogan, MS Ed.  She is an Implementation Planner for the Early Head Start/Child Care Partnership, one of only 40 experts selected nationally by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care.

A member of the New York State Cadre of Master Trainers for the Pyramid Model, Ellen has earned the New York State Training and Technical Assistance Professional Credential as a Professional Development Specialist – Early Childhood/School Age, and she is a registered trainer in the Aspire Registry.
Her training sessions qualify for EIP funding from NYS or from the State grant for Pyramid Model Training. This applies to programs within New York State.

Ellen has been active in Early Childhood Education for very many years. Her last name has changed. She started life as a Shapiro. During college, MS Ed program, teaching, supervising and early consulting, her last name was Hofstetter. Consulting and teaching on the university level, she was a Jaffe. Finally, in late 2011, she became a Cogan. Looking back, staying Shapiro would have been so much easier, but times have changed so since those early days.

Ellen earned BA and MS Ed degrees from the Early Childhood Education department of Queens College of the City University of New York. She was the only Early Childhood Ed major to minor in Home Economics. She connected education of young children to home and family from the start.


Ellen raised four fantastic gifted children, along the way learning to advocate for their learning needs.  There are terrific grandchildren  (three married to amazing spouses) and 2 fantastic great-grands!  Several years after being widowed, Ellen married another widow, Mr. Cogan, and there are two wonderful step-children (with amazing spouses) and a marvelous granddaughter!  Mr. Cogan often comes along on trips to conferences, seminars, etc.  Among his other super skills, he’s great at giving out handouts.


Ellen’s Work History

Ellen Cogan - Teacher, Consultant, Speaker

  • Teaching in public and private elementary and preschools
  • Adjunct teaching undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Directing Head Start and private and publicly funded preschools
  • Consultant to small and large Head Start and other programs
  • Advocate for high quality early childhood programs and for the children, families, and staff of these programs
  • Grant writer (with clients)
  • Published articles in Early Childhood magazines and journals
  • Speaker at conferences and forums.

Before she started HILLTOP EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES, Ellen was director of the child care center of a major teaching hospital in New York. She is most proud of her initiating collaboration with the Pediatric Department of a residency rotation in child development, including volunteering at the child care center.  At least 10 years after she left the program, the child development residency continued, offering pediatricians the opportunity to see young children in real life, not ill, and not in a doctor’s office. Think of all of the children who were and will be helped by all those pediatricians who won’t say, “S/He’ll grow out of it” to parents with concerns about development!

Mrs. Cogan, a life member of NAEYC, was an adjunct instructor in child development in the Childhood Education program in the School of Education, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at The City College of New York (CCNY), City University of New York (CUNY), located in New York City, and at other branches of CUNY.

She was a member of Teaching Strategies, Inc. (publisher of The Creative Curriculum)’s Staff Development Network. Ellen was trained by Teaching Strategies to train directors and teaching staff in implementation of both The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, Fourth Edition, and The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos. As a member of this group, she provided Creative Curriculum training to many programs throughout the United States. She continues to support many of the original concepts of The Creative Curriculum as she moves on with other consulting venues. Since she left their network, Teaching Strategies published new versions and products on which she has not trained. Ellen independently continued to offer seminars to help people understand and use some of those products. This was based on her attendance at conference sessions, purchase of new materials, and her vast experience in early childhood. There is no connection to or endorsement from the publisher.

While Ellen is based in New York State, she enjoys traveling to clients wherever they are.