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.
Wonderspring Early Education (formerly Montgomery Early Learning Centers) will open a brand-new center in New Market West in the Spring of 2020. Located at 59th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, directly adjacent to a public transportation hub, New Market West is a neighborhood transformation development that will also feature primary health care, support for previously homeless single-parent families, behavioral health services, and retail.
Community members are invited to tour the new facility at one of three open house events that will take place:
Tuesday, April 21, 10am-noon
Wednesday, April 22, noon-2pm
Thursday, April 23, 5pm-7pm
According to Wonderspring CEO, Ann O’Brien, the New Market West center will serve infants through school age children. Like all of Wonderspring’s early childhood 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 will also feature a beautiful outdoor learning space that will offer children many opportunities for exploration and connecting with nature. Through a generous grant from PNC Foundation, the outdoor space will be outfitted with playthings that spark imagination and promote open-ended play and learning.
The New Market West site will accept ELRC subsidy and Wonderspring anticipates partnering with a variety of other community supports to fund additional families as soon as the new center is eligible to apply for those resources.
Early Education Provider Rebrands, Continues to Offer Leading-Edge Curriculum to More than 850 Children Throughout the Region
Narberth, PA – January 13, 2020 – Montgomery Early Learning Centers, a provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, has changed its name to Wonderspring. A leader in early education for more than 50 years, the organization will continue delivering an innovative, evidence-based curriculum rooted in the latest research on how children learn best.
“We have a long, successful history of providing the highest quality care and early childhood education across the region. However, our former name and logo no longer truly reflect the learning opportunities we provide or even the geography we serve,” said Surge Ghosh, President of the Wonderspring Board of Directors.
The rebranding, which aligns the name and logo with the organization’s core educational philosophy, was funded fully with grants from The Philadelphia Foundation and corporate partners including BBD, Exude, Metcalfe, NSM Insurance Group, N Property Group and TDS Networks
“The name Wonderspring represents our approach to early education, as we nurture children through the most critical learning years of their lives,” said Ann O’Brien, CEO. “Children are learning all the time, in every interaction with teachers and each other. Cultivating wonder in young children and sparking their natural curiosity are fundamental to cultivating life-long learners, which is the most important thing we do.”
Wonderspring’s focus on quality is evidenced by the fact that all its centers have Keystone Star 4 ratings as and that it is nationally recognized by accreditation organizations including National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Council on Accreditation (COA).
Wonderspring focuses on the whole child from infancy through Kindergarten. With its emergent curriculum, Wonderspring’s teaching methodology is shaped by the interests of the children in the classroom in order to create the most meaningful learning experiences.
“Our mission and value to the community remain. We are the same provider of high-quality education that our families have come to know and trust,” added Zakiyyah Boone, Chief Program Officer. “But we need to show that our approach is more up-to-date than the old name and logo indicated. Our 21st century approach to learning has led us to a new name and brand identity that reflect the innovative programming we deliver.”
Wonderspring operates in 10 locations throughout the region and will open a brand-new early learning center, New Market West, at 59th and Market streets in Philadelphia in Spring 2020. 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. The organization’s summer camp for children entering Kindergarten through entering 6th grade offers weekly themed sessions that provide opportunities for fun, exploration and learning throughout the summer.
Wonderspring is pleased to welcome Zakiyyah Boone as Chief Program Officer. Ms. Boone will be responsible for the programmatic direction of the organization’s five high-quality early childhood education programs, its kindergarten program and its five out-of-school time programs. She will also lead the effort to open Wonderspring’s newest early childhood education program at New Market West, which is slated to open in the spring of 2020. The center at New Market West is part of a neighborhood transformation project at 59th and Market Street, which will bring high-quality early childhood education, primary health care, support for previously homeless single-parent families, behavioral health services, and community-serving retail to a transit-accessible location together with affordable rental housing (in a later phase) to a neighborhood deeply in need of these services.
Ms. Boone has 22 years experience as an early childhood and youth development professional. Most recently, 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. A national leader in educational quality improvement, Ms. Boone led a nationwide initiative aimed at enhancing the ability of after school programs to improve student outcomes. Locally, she has cut the ribbon on 10 child care centers and launched multiple evidence-based youth development programs across the Greater Philadelphia region.