We’re pre-enrolling at New Market West

 

Wonderspring Early Education, a nationally recognized nonprofit provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, is pre-enrolling at its newest high-quality early childhood education center at 59th and Market Streets in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia. What’s more, we’re offering discounts to all families who pre-enroll.

The center is located in the neighborhood transformation development called New Market West, which also features primary health care, support for previously homeless single-parent families, behavioral health services, and retail.

Serving infants through school-age children, the new center 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. Among the highlights of the new center is a beautiful outdoor learning space outfitted with playthings that ignite imagination and promote open-ended play and learning.

“Wonderspring is committed to increasing access to high-quality care for all children and we’re thrilled to be opening a gorgeous, brand new, high-quality center in this neighborhood,” says Wonderspring CEO, Zakiyyah Boone.  “Our focus is on sparking the creativity and wonder in children and Wonderspring New Market West offers the perfect environment for children to tap into their natural curiosity and develop a lifelong love of learning.”

Want to learn more? Call our fabulous center director Cherrelle Shaw at 215-798-9961 and schedule a safe, socially distant tour or request more information here.

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Care in the Time of Covid

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. 

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Giving Tuesday: Preserving a Lifeline

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.

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Help Expand Access to High-Quality Early Education and Care

2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways. But each day at Wonderspring, we find new reasons to smile. Whether it is watching a child take his first steps or read her first words or make a discovery through exploratory play, we find joy in watching children develop and grow. 
 
This year as we approach Giving Tuesday, we’re going to share some of the many stories that illustrate the impact that Wonderspring has had on children and families throughout the region as well as why our donors support Wonderspring. We hope that these stories will inspire you to help us expand access to high-quality early education and care to more children by contributing to our scholarship fund.
 
This year, the need for scholarship funds is greater than ever. But your tax deductible gift can help make sure we don’t have to turn children away. What’s more, our Giving Tuesday Sponsor Exude is helping to match donations we receive. 
 
To make a donation to our Harwood Scholarship Fund, simply click the button below. Thank you for your support of Wonderspring and our mission as a non-profit to help families thrive by providing safe, convenient, and highest quality learning opportunities and care for children in Greater Philadelphia.

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Wonderspring embarks on critical diversity, equity and inclusion work

As a nonprofit that strives to ensure access to high-quality learning and care to all children, Wonderspring is committed to advancing diversity equity and inclusion both in our employment practices as well as our services for children. Thus, we are thrilled to announce that with the support of the William Penn Foundation, Wonderspring is working with two Diversity Fellows from Temple University’s Diversifying Early Education Leadership program (DEEL@Temple). Our new Fellows will to assist the organization in achieving its goals of:
  •  nurturing a culture of diversity equity and inclusion among staff
  • supporting teaching practices that acknowledge and respect multiple cultures, languages and practices in the classroom
  • proactively recruiting and developing the talents of ethnically diverse persons for administrative and leadership positions.

We are thrilled to welcome Diversity Fellows Sophia Ezomoghene and Omosi Anabui.

Sophia Ezomoghene is a lead early childhood literacy specialist for the Free Library of Philadelphia. She began her career in education as an AmeriCorps volunteer at an alternative high school serving older and underserved students. Later she taught prekindergarten and kindergarten at a charter school in Washington, DC. Before joining the Free Library of Philadelphia, she was a Head Start teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. Sophia earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Affairs from Northeastern University, as well as her Master’s in Education from American University. 

Omosi Anabui is an Impact Manager at City Year Philadelphia where much of her work is focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She guides a team of 12 young adults looking to create equitable interventions spaces that enable students who attend Forrest Elementary School to have critical conversations about race and other parts of identity. Omosi has a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and has served as an Americorps Member and Team Leader.

As we embark on this critical effort, we will be soliciting the input of our families and stakeholders. We look forward to working together to ensure all voices are heard and that all of our children, families and staff are valued and engaged.

 

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