At our next Family Virtual Workshop we’ll be discussing How to Hold it All Together. Our presenter is Learning (SEL) Specialist Helen Ober who has worked with thousands of parents and teachers. Her mission is to equip them with the skills that support a child’s emotional health, encourage them to simply love and let go of perfection, and to empower them to be the confident leader children need.
Wonderspring is thrilled to announce that CEO Zakiyyah Boone has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA). PACCA is a statewide non-profit membership organization that exists to be strong and effective advocates for high-quality early care and education programs.
For more than 40 years, PACCA has served as a resource and clearinghouse of information for practitioners, agencies, press, legislators and the general public. Founded in 1973, PACCA has helped to inform, update and represent child care providers on existing and changing laws, regulations, policies and developmental research relating to early education and child care.
PACCA’s members operate nearly 2,400 center, group and family child care programs employing over 20,000 staff and caring for over 140,000 children aged birth through school-age. Its membership also includes agencies that provide county-wide child care resources and referral services.
“I’m honored to serve on the PACCA Board of Directors alongside other leaders who are unapologetically and relentlessly passionate about access to quality education for all children,” says Boone. “I wholeheartedly believe education is the best way to eradicate poverty and it is my life’s mission to support quality education.”
She notes there are three primary issues she hopes to work to address: the need for increased funding for early education, developing a workforce of quality staff, and building professional respect for the field.
“Eighty percent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of 5,” says Boone. “That’s why affordable, high-quality early education is so critical to a child’s success in school and beyond. It is my hope that my passion and energy for this field will inspire others to advocate on behalf of Pennsylvania’s children and families.”
As we close out 2022, I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year. I am so grateful to all the staff, families, and stakeholders who make up the Wonderspring community and wanted to share some of the incredible things that we were able to accomplish with your support. We’re also thrilled to announce that this year, we embarked on the development of 5-year plan, designed to make Wonderspring an even more incredible place in the coming years. Take a look at all we’ve achieved this year and please consider making an end-of-year tax deductible donation to support our future work.
With best wishes for the New Year,
We upgraded our facilities
Thanks to the generosity of funders including PNC, Truist Foundation, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, and McLean Contributionship, Wonderspring was able to make several upgrades at our centers. Our Powelton Village center was painted inside and out and received new flooring and cabinets, our Pottsown center received a grant to purchase indoor and outdoor gross-motor equipment, and our Narberth center received new furniture. At our New Market West Center, we added a cozy reading area and upgraded the outdoor play environment.
We invested in teacher quality
If there is one thing that sets Wonderspring apart, it is our absolute commitment to providing the highest quality education and care to the children and families we serve. Our staff includes two quality managers who stay abreast of best practices in early childhood education and provide ongoing coaching and professional development to staff. This year, in addition to countless hours of coaching, Wonderspring held three organization-wide, full-day professional development events covering topics such as curriculum implementation, assessment and progress monitoring, managing challenging behaviors and CPR. To ensure teachers have ongoing access to training, we also purchased professional development subscriptions with access to recorded webinars and live events for all lead teachers and assistant directors. Additionally, our quality Quality Coach and Senior Director of Programs participated in a Train-the-Trainer FLIP IT Course through the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. FLIP IT is a strategy that offers a simple, kind, strength-based, commonsense and effective process to address children’s day-to-day challenging behavior.
We added more tuition-free slots
Our vision is for all children and their families to have equitable access to high-quality Early Childhood Education and Out-of-School Time programs regardless of family income. This year the PHLpreK program at our Powelton Village center was recognized by the Mayor and we were able to to offer 10 additional slots. Additionally our New Market West Center was able to offer 20 PreK Counts slots.
We demonstrated our quality
Our New Market West site was awarded a STAR 4 rating (the highest available rating) from Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Additionally, the center is now participating In NAECY Accreditation Initiative through First Up, NAEYC accreditation is a multi-year process that involves both staff and parents to demonstrate the highest level of excellence in ten areas of good early childhood practice. Standards are defined as: 1. Relationships, 2. Areas of Development: Social-Emotional Development, Physical Development, Language Development, and Curriculum Content, 3. Teaching, 4. Assessment of Child Progress, 5. Health, 6. Teachers, 7. Families, 8. Community Relationships, 9. Physical Environment, and 10. Leadership and Management.
We began work on an actionable DEI plan
At Wonderspring we celebrate the wide array of culture, ethnicity, history and experience of our children, families and staff. we believe that our organization is strengthened and enriched by our diversity. we aim to create an inclusive and equitable environment for learning and working where everyone feels welcomed, valued and respected.
This year, Wonderspring began work on developing a formal plan aimed at ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion is embedded in every aspect of our operation. We applied for and were accepted into the Bucks-Mont Racial Equity Learning Community, a cross-county multi-sector initiative for organizations to come together to learn, build relationships and take action that deepens organizational and collective capacity to advance racial equity and justice in our region. Leaders from throughout our organization will participate in this intesive year-long process that will enable Wonderspring to develop an actionable equity plan.
Wonderspring Early Education, a non-profit organization providing high-quality early childhood education and care throughout Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties, is pleased to welcome Seanna Crosley and Josh Fiorenza to its Board of Directors.
Seanna is a development consultant with 17 years experience working with nonprofit organizations including The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The One Love Foundation, La Salle University, and The Wharton School. Most recently she served as Vice President of Development for Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware, and Susquehanna Valley.
Seanna is a member of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s Core Class of 2022 and The Forum of Executive Women in Philadelphia. She serves as a member of the Development Committee for Women Against Abuse and the Community Engagement Committee for the Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter.
Seanna holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Communication from LaSalle University.
Josh is Senior Director at Slalom, a Fortune 100 global consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation. He has more than 20 years of management consulting experience in business strategy, leading high-performance teams, and cultivating customer relationships.
Josh is actively engaged as a Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) Member, supports the Four Diamond Philanthropy, and volunteers as a coach for the Great Valley Community Organization (GVCO) and Great Valley Little League.
Josh holds a B.A. degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and an executive degree from the University of Cambridge, Institute for Manufacturing.
While operating as a nonprofit in 2021 presented it’s own set of challenges, when I reflect on all we accomplished, I feel a tremendous sense of pride and gratitude for the amazing staff, families, children and partners that make up the Wonderspring community. I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year. Before we kick off 2022, I wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights of the past year. I also want to remind you that it is not too late to make a tax deductible donation to support our work. Your gift ensures that we can continue to help children and families thrive.
We opened a gorgeous brand new center
After months of anticipation, Wonderspring opened the doors of New Market West–a gorgeous brand-new center in West Philadelphia. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Wonderspring joined with elected officials, early childhood stakeholders and community partners at a festive celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony.
We connected with the community
Despite the challenges of COVID we found numerous creative and safe ways to connect with the families and communities we serve. Big hits this year were the Narberth and Wynnewood Art shows that highlighted the incredible creativity of our children and our first annual Community Fun Day, which thanks to the collaboration of so many partners, was a giant hit with children and families alike.
We gave back
Wonderspring is committed to building empathy and caring in our children. We believe you are never to young to give back to the community and become a socially responsible citizen. In that spirit of giving, this year our Colonial school-age program collected a record 456 items including canned food, clothing, toys and books for the Colonial Neighborhood Council. Our Narberth program partnered with with the Pajama Program to provide pajamas for children in need.
We advocated for the needs of children and families
Working with local and national media outlets, Wonderspring took a lead role in helping our elected officials understand the the childcare staffing crisis, its effect on economic recovery, and the need to support a significant and sustained investment in early childhood education.
We are so grateful for the generosity of our families and partners who supported us every step of the way this year. You help ensure we can continue to provide the highest-quality early education and care. If you would like to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the children and families we serve, it’s not too late to make a tax deductible donation! Just click the button below.