Elected officials, community partners and education advocates joined Wonderspring at a festive ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of New Market West, its brand-new early childhood education center in West Philadelphia.
Serving up to 123 children and creating 30 jobs
According to Wonderspring CEO, Zakiyyah Boone, Wonderspring New Market West will serve up to 123 infants through school-age children and will create 30 jobs. 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.
“This center has been a long time in the making, but we have poured so much love and passion into this project and we couldn’t be more thrilled to open our doors to the children and families of West Philadelphia,” said Boone.
Bringing resources to families
The new center is located in the New Market West neighborhood transformation development, which is bringing 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 to the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia.
“We recognize the importance of ensuring that families have the resources they need to thrive. The fact that New Market West is a neighborhood transformation initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for the community was a key driver in our decision to open a center here,” said Boone.
Philadelphia City Councilman, Curtis Jones, noted that “New Market West represents the transformation of land that was once an abandoned gas station to a high-quality education center for our children. But this is even more than an educational center,” he said. “It is an economic development project, because without reliable childcare, parents cannot return to work.”
Sean Perkins, Chief of Early Childhood Education for the City of Philadelphia spoke to the importance of high-quality childcare. “This is where deductive reasoning, executive function, negotiation skills, literacy and empathy begins,” he said.
Wonderspring is currently enrolling children at the new center. Click the button below to complete an application.
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.
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.
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.
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.