Increasing early learning opportunities for children
West Philadelphia Early Childhood Education Initiative
“Being a parent ambassador in my community gives me strength to help others every day. It also lets me know that I’m on the right track with my children …Parents working with other parents and getting them to talk to each other is very beneficial. It’s nice to know we are not alone.”
Tamicka Stephens, parent ambassador, WPECE
Committed to civic engagement and alarmed by the fact that only 26 percent of children in its surrounding neighborhoods are enrolled in high-quality early education programs, Drexel University created the West Philadelphia Early Childhood Education Initiative to ensure that the youngest residents have access to high-quality learning opportunities early in life. Working with community partners, the Initiative identified 23 child care facilities in Mantua, West Powelton, and Belmont to which it provided teacher training, business support, and peer mentors. In addition, parent ambassadors engage in community outreach and help raise awareness about the importance of high-quality early learning.
By August 2017, the number of children benefiting from quality early education is expected to double. The Initiative’s goal is to increase children’s performance in early literacy and to raise reading proficiency at West Philadelphia elementary schools by an impressive 40 percent.