Tour Wonderspring’s brand new center at New Market West at a safe, socially distant Open House event. The events, featuring tours of the beautiful facility, light refreshments and giveaways, will offer an opportunity to learn about our high-quality programs and our Early Bird Discounts.
New Market West is located at 5901 Market Street, Suite 101 in Philadelphia (enter on 59th St.)
Dates and times for the events are:
Tuesday, January 19th, 7am-1pm
Wednesday, January 20th, noon-6pm
Thursday, January 21st, 8am-noon
Conveniently located directly adjacent to a public transportation hub, New Market West will serve infants through school age. And, as you’ve come to expect from all our centers, it will provide high-quality, evidence-based programming that meets the state’s Early Learning Standards by focusing on the intellectual, developmental, social, emotional, and relational aspects of the whole child.
The new site also features a beautiful outdoor learning space that will offer children many opportunities for exploration and connecting with nature. As with all our centers, the New Market West site will accept ELRC subsidy.
For more information about New Market West go here.
Just imagine… you have just become a parent. Just six weeks ago,equivalent to the time that it typically takes to process a passport, you didn’t have that title of parent. Of guardian, of a person that must watch over and care for another human’s life. In the length of time that it takes for you to receive your passport you must say goodbye to your child, your infant. For six weeks the only sustenance your child needed came from you and now… you are standing in a line, six feet behind the family in front of you. Waiting for a stranger, with their body covered in a mask, shield, gloves, and smock, to take your child’s temperature in order to determine if your child has been infected…. The staff member greets you as warmly as one can while under all the PPE and directs you through processes of drop-off. Such a foreign concept to a new family. The PPE person assures you that your child is in good hands and then. That’s it. Your baby is gone. You don’t know how many steps it will take for the person to arrive at your child’s classroom. You don’t know how the teachers greet your child or even if they do. You don’t see how your child reacts to a new environment, people, children, food or surroundings. There is limited opportunity to build a connection with the people beyond the front doors of a center that cares for your child. Connections are lost. Communication is, virtual, remote. Touch is forbidden. Participation and family engagement is a potential hazard. We are providing care and education for your child. However, we cannot properly care for the guardian who turns their back every day to a person in PPE to wipe tears from their eyes. We cannot slow the heartbeat of a guardian who fears for their child’s safety and wellbeing. They must do this now on their own. They are their own support.
As providers we cope in many different ways to stave off the fear that comes when we awake in the morning. To push away the question “Is today the day I get infected”? We cry, but cannot embrace our fellow employees as we hear of another death, another in the hospital, another loved one in quarantine.
But, when we enter the classroom we are not only your child’s teacher. We are the loving touch a mother would give to a concerned child. We are the silly songs to distract from a difficult guardian departure. We are the person that pretends to call Mommy for the 30th time to make sure she’s coming back to pick up at 3:30pm. We are the photographers for missed birthday celebrations, missed milestones, and ‘you did it’ moments. We continue to serve as we said we would. To list A challenge during a pandemic is impossible. As childcare providers we challenge ourselves to tackle everything that comes our way, each and every day.
Our challenges are all of those missed connections.
Charles Bragitkos and Rafael Sonder
December 1, Narberth PA—Wonderspring Early Education, a nonprofit provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, is pleased to welcome Charles Bragitikos and Rafael Sonder to its Board of Directors.
Bragitikos is a principal and co-founder of Vibrant Development Group and Vibrant Ventures. At Vibrant Development Group, where he works with gaming companies, developers, professional sports teams, and the public sector on conceiving and developing large-scale, mixed-use destination projects. Through Vibrant Ventures, he creates and invests in select dining and entertainment concepts. In addition to serving on Wonderspring’s board, Bragitikos sits on the Board of Directors of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and serves as clerk of the finance committee at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bragitikos says he was inspired to join Wonderspring’s board because of the positive impact it has on children. “Wonderspring checked all the boxes for me,” he says. “They have a heart-felt mission that resonated with me, a passionate and driven CEO, and a terrific set of committed Board members. I am excited and honored to join this incredible group.”
Sonder has 20 years of experience working in Finance, Strategy and Management. Currently, he serves as CFO of WatchBox, a global luxury-goods e-commerce company based in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Previously, for 15 years, he held various positions working for one of Latin America’s largest private equity asset managers,Tarpon Ivestimentos. Sonder holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
“Education has always been a passion for me for the way it can change a person’s life,” says Sonder. “I am inspired by the Wonderspring’s mission and the energy of its staff. The Management team and the Board take their responsibility to the children and the families very seriously. It is a privilege for me to contribute my personal and professional experiences to help advance their mission.”.
Wonderspring operates in nine locations throughout the region and will open a brand-new early learning center, New Market West, at 59th and Market streets in Philadelphia in 2021. In addition to its early education centers, Wonderspring offers school-age programs to ensure children receive educational experiences and care before and after the school day as well as homework assistance and care for virtual learners. The organization’s summer camp for children entering Kindergarten through 6th grade offers weekly themed sessions that provide opportunities for fun, exploration and learning throughout the summer. For more information, visit wonderspring.org.
Ask Amanda Rubiano what one word most describes Wonderspring and she will tell you it is FAMILY.
Before her daughter Amiyah started at the Powelton Village center three years ago, Amanda had been a stay at home mom. So, understandably she had some reservations about returning to work and putting Amiyah in care. But those reservations quickly faded.
“From the very first day, we felt so welcomed, it put us immediately at ease,” she recalls. “The staff was great about staying in touch and letting us know how Amiyah was doing. They sent photos and texts and emails, so I felt like I was connected to her day.”
And it wasn’t long before Amiyah was equally comfortable at Wonderspring. “Initially, Amiyah had a hard time adjusting and clung to me at drop off, but the teachers did such an incredible job helping her get acclimated that now she runs off happily with her teacher. It is amazing to see how much she has progressed and how independent she has become.”
In fact, Amiyah and her two-and-a-half-year-old sister Ariyah feel so at home at Wonderspring, that even on days they aren’t in school they follow their Wonderspring routines. “When they are home, they sing the songs they learn at school, do their ABCs and numbers and even pretend they are having circle time or playing with their school friends,” says Amanda.
Amanda and her partner Isaiah were particularly grateful that Wonderspring stayed so connected to their family during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Their teachers regularly checked in with us and interacted with the kids through facetime and Zoom,” she says. “They also sent lesson plans and activities for the kids to work on every week. I was still working, and Isaiah was home with them all day, so he really appreciated having ways to keep the kids busy and engaged.
I trust Wonderspring to care for my kids because it is such a family-oriented place and everyone on staff is so caring. There’s a real sense of community.
Help ensure that all children have access to high quality care and education. Make a gift to the Harwood Scholarship fund so more children can be part of the Wonderspring family. Wonderspring is a nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible.
For Karl and Michael Martinez, Wonderspring’s school age
program for virtual learners was a lifeline
Michael Martinez began attending Wonderspring’s before- and after-school program at Ridge Park when he was in Kindergarten. From the very beginning, his father Karl could see the positive impact the program was having on his son.
“Before starting at Wonderspring, Michael didn’t have a lot of friends,” says Karl. “He was extremely shy and used to stay off to the side on his own. But at Wonderspring he started making friends and since then, he’s made leaps and bounds socially. He joins groups, plays games and takes part in activities. So much of that progress is due to the program at Wonderspring.”
Karl, a single parent who works as a recruiter, was always grateful for the quality of care his son received at Wonderspring and for the attentive staff who helped nurture his son’s social development. But this fall, that gratitude magnified exponentially.
“When the pandemic hit and everything closed, I was home trying to juggle working and teaching my son,” he says. “It was a nightmare for both of us. I wasn’t getting much work done and I wasn’t doing a great job helping him. Then when I had to go back to the office, the Colonial school district announced they were going to open 100 percent virtual. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. Thank God Wonderspring offered the online virtual support program. It has been an absolute lifesaver.
“The program has allowed us both to get back into normal routine. Michael felt like he was back at school learning with other kids and I was able to go back work and be productive. I can’t tell you how much of a help that has been. “
While learning virtually was initially a bit of an adjustment, Karl says Michael adapted quickly and that the teachers at Wonderspring have been incredibly supportive. “When Michael’s school-issued device stopped working Leandra was able help him get a replacement right away,” he says.
And overall, Michael is happier. “When we were stuck at home, he was so isolated,” says Karl. “The only people he saw were on Zoom. Going back to Wonderspring, he really appreciated that he could socialize and be around kids his age. He’s even made some new friends.”
You can be a lifeline to a family like Michael’s. Make a donation to our Scholarship Fund and help ensure all children have the benefit of high-quality care.