Author Archive

Wonderspring Early Learning

At Wonderspring, our mission is to develop, provide and advocate for high quality early childhood education, school age programs, and related services in support of all children and families.

Promoting Social and Emotional Health

Your child’s social and emotional health is just as important as their physical health. Social emotional health significantly affects a child’s overall development. learning and well being. In fact, studies by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation state that an important component of early school readiness and healthy child development is meeting a child’s social-emotional needs in preschool. Moreover, they note that emphasis on social emotional learning (SEL) in preschool can enable children to thrive academically, mentally, and physically in kindergarten and through to adulthood.
 
At Wonderspring, promoting the social and emotional health of the children we serve is a top priority and is infused in every part of the day. Last year, through grants from William Penn Foundation and PNC Foundation, Wonderspring was able to purchase and implement the Second Step Social Emotional Curriculum at all its centers. Utilizing weekly themes songs, activities, puppets, and posters, Second Step helps children better understand, manage and express emotions and empathy, develop positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. All Wonderspring teachers have been trained on the Second Step Curriculum and receive ongoing technical assistance to help them integrate the program in their classroom routines.
 
Since implementing the program, teachers report they are better able to handle challenging behaviors and utilize positive behavior management strategies. They also note that the children are better able to identify their feelings and utilize a variety of calming techniques for their minds and bodies.
 
Angela Giuliani a preK teacher at the Narberth center is extremely enthusiastic about the curriculum. “It has improved the overall tone of the classroom,” she says. “The children are more empathetic because it helps them recognize the feelings of their friends and makes them think about ways they can help. They love role playing with the puppets and using the puppets to talk through problems. It gives them the confidence that they know the answers. Then, when we give them positive feedback for implementing what they learn, it reinforces that confidence.”
 
Learn more about how Social Emotional Learning is implemented in our classrooms.
Continue Reading

Zakiyyah Boone Named Wonderspring CEO

 

Narberth, PA—Wonderspring Early Education, a nonprofit provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, has named Zakiyyah Boone Chief Executive Officer.

According to Surge Ghosh, President of Wonderspring’s Board of Directors, Boone’s appointment culminated a thorough search for a strong leader to move the organization forward at a time when the child care sector faces unprecedented challenges. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate for the already fragile early childcare sector has become more precarious. Zakiyyah has the perfect mix of experience, innovation, leadership and passion to help Wonderspring not only weather this storm but empower the organization to thrive.”

Boone, who previously served as the organization’s Interim CEO and Chief Program Officer, has more than 20 years of experience as an early childhood and youth development professional. Prior to joining Wonderspring, she served as Vice President of Early Childhood at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA where she managed a budget of $20M, identified growth and partnership opportunities and ensured the appropriateness of facilities to deliver high-quality programs. She has cut the ribbon on 10 child care centers and launched multiple evidence-based youth development programs across the Greater Philadelphia region. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Millersville University and an MBA from Kaplan University.

Since taking on the role of Interim CEO in April, Boone has successfully managed the safe reopening of the organization’s four early childcare centers and its school-age camps in Philadelphia and Montgomery County. She has also been instrumental in the development of Wonderspring’s newly constructed center in the neighborhood transformation project known as  New Market West. While acknowledging the challenges posed by the pandemic, she is optimistic about the future of Wonderspring.

“Child care is critical for the recovery of our economy,” she says. “We have forged strong relationships with the families we serve and they rely on us to provide high-quality care and education for their children. Everyone at Wonderspring, from our outstanding teachers and center directors to our highly agile central administration team, is dedicated to finding innovative and safe ways to meet the changing needs of our families throughout the pandemic and beyond. To that end, we are exploring a host of ideas including onsite school-age programming for children whose schools are not offering in-person instruction.”

“As a mother of three, I am keenly aware of the impact high-quality early education can have on children and families. I am committed to not only providing that level of care to the families we currently serve but to ensuring that all children have equitable access to the highest quality of education and care.”

###

Wonderspring Early Education is a nonprofit organization working to develop, provide and advocate for high-quality early childhood education, school-age programs, and related services in support of all children. The organization provides direct service programs to over 1,000 children through its 10 locations within the Greater Philadelphia region.

Continue Reading

Wonderspring Names Zakiyyah Boone Interim CEO

 

Narberth, PA–Wonderspring Early Education, a nonprofit provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, has named Zakiyyah Boone Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Boone, who previously served as the organization’s Chief Program Officer, has more than 20 years of experience as an early childhood and youth development professional. Prior to joining Wonderspring, she served as Vice President of Early Childhood at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA where she managed a budget of $20M, identified growth and partnership opportunities and ensured the appropriateness of facilities to deliver high-quality programs. She has cut the ribbon on 10 child care centers and launched multiple evidence-based youth development programs across the Greater Philadelphia region.

Boone holds a BS in Elementary Education from Millersville University and an MBA from Kaplan University. As a mother of three, she personally understands the impact that high-quality early education can have on children and families, especially with a high-quality childcare provider such as Wonderspring.

“We are thrilled that Zakiyyah will be stepping into the role of Interim CEO,” said Surge Ghosh, President of Wonderspring’s Board of Directors. “She is an energetic, creative and passionate leader whose extensive experience and innovation will be an asset to Wonderspring moving forward.”

Boone replaces Ann O’Brien who has left the organization to pursue a new opportunity. “Ann has been a guiding force at Wonderspring for the last six years and has been instrumental in stabilizing the organization’s finances, expanding Wonderspring’s partnerships, advocating for the child care sector, and building a strong management team. We wish her the very best in her new endeavor,” said Ghosh.

While Wonderspring has been closed during the COVID-19 crisis, the organization continues to pay its teachers who are actively engaging students and families through phone, email, videos, and social media.  “The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for all organizations and businesses. However, we believe that with our capable administrative team, amazing center directors and incredible teachers, we will weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.” says Ghosh.

“Since arriving at Wonderspring, I have been so inspired by the commitment of our teachers and center directors to the children and families we serve,” says Boone. “I look forward to when we can welcome all of our students back to our classrooms and am excited about what the future holds.”

 

 

Continue Reading

Subscribe to Our Newsletters