Xiente’s Mobile Preschool to Provide Free Education Across Philadelphia
October 27, 2023 (Philadelphia, PA) – Xiente, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform communities by empowering families to achieve economic mobility, announces the launch of its first mobile preschool in the state of Pennsylvania. Its goals are to provide pre-school readiness education to children 3-5 years old who are being cared for by informal child care providers (also known in the state of Pennsylvania as a “Relative Provider”); capacity building services to in-home/informal caregivers; and support services for families whose children are participating in the program. It will be celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, October 27 at 9 AM at Xiente’s Children’s Center at 2011 N. Mascher Street.
In 2019, it was estimated that there was a 12 percent gap between Philadelphia’s available slots and the demand for child care, which was particularly pronounced in communities of color and among people with low-income. The result is many families seeking “informal” care for their children, with friends, family, and neighbors who may not be certified teachers. Xiente’s mobile preschool program aims to address disparities in early learning.
Generously funded by the William Penn Foundation and Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids program, the mobile preschool will host three cohorts of 32 children for six months. Each cohort will participate for five hours per week divided into two, 2.5-hour sessions. Classes will focus on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, comparisons, and phonics.
With its innovative approach to supporting preschool students and their caregivers, Xiente’s mobile preschool is taking a meaningful step towards broadening access to early childhood education in Philadelphia, said Rashanda Perryman, Head of Philanthropy within Vanguard’s Community Stewardship Group.
Through Strong Start for Kids, we are committed to building an equitable ecosystem of early learning by supporting resilient families, connected communities, and effective programs—like this one—to help ensure children in our community are school-ready.
-Rashanda Perryman, Vanguard
In 2020, Mathematica, a national research organization, conducted a scan of informal child care programs in Philadelphia to better understand the prevalence of this type of care and the strengths and needs of this provider type. This program builds on and incorporates the findings of this study. “A key recommendation of the Mathematica study pointed to the need for basic support related to health, safety, and child development tailored to informal providers and families of children in their care,” said Jennifer Stavrakos, Interim Director of the Great Learning Program at the William Penn Foundation.
“We’re excited to support Xiente’s new effort, as part of our goal to ensure all Philadelphia children have access to high-quality early childhood education programs that prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.”
-JenNIFER sTAVRAKOS, wILLIAM pENN fOUNDATION
The mobile preschool will partner with a number of organizations in the Philadelphia early learning ecosystem for complementary programming, such as ParentChild+ program, in partnership with the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation. Outcomes will be assessed by partner Mathematica.
Another partner is Valley Settlement in Roaring Forks Colorado; Xiente’s mobile preschool program is modeled on its Busesito program. Valley Settlement will also provide technical assistance for the pilot.
This effort and related programming draws on Xiente’s (formerly Norris Square Community Alliance) more than 20 years of experience providing quality, bi-lingual early childhood education, Head Start programming, and summer camp services. In 2022, Xiente served almost 3,000 families, 279 of which participated in its early education program and received both kindergarten readiness education and school meals.
To set up a tour, please contact Stef Arck-Baynes at email@example.com or 917-710-1901.
Source: The Reinvestment Fund, 2019