Why You Should Enroll in KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers This Fall


Prepare your child for a future of success by enrolling them in a high-quality Early Learning Center.

By Sydney Kerelo

While it might seem like summer just started, the next school year will be here before we know it. June turns to July, which quickly fades into August, and then September, when students gear up for another exciting school year.

At the end of the 2023-24 school year, KenCrest had approximately 860 students enrolled in Early Learning. Although summer just recently started, it’s never too early to consider pre-school enrollment and ensuring your child has a great place to grow.

Do you have a little learner in the Philadelphia area beginning school this year? Check out what KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers can offer you.


How KenCrest Preschools Stand Out

KenCrest's Early Learning Centers (ELC) are not just any preschools. There are seven centers spread across Philadelphia, each offering a unique blend of programs that support students, their families, and caregivers. Our ELCs are Pennsylvania Keystone STARS 4-quality-rated programs. As part of the program, KenCrest adheres to a specific set of standards prioritizing quality early learning as the foundation for children’s success and a wise investment in their future education.

This past year, all of the KenCrest centers began the process of receiving accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which will give KenCrest access to higher-quality training for its teachers and staff to help with coping skills, problem-solving, socializing, and interactions with each other in inclusive classrooms.

Children learn from each other, so inclusive classrooms are essential to their development. Shirley Gilcrest, a Program Director at KenCrest’s Adams Center, shared how one of her students was nonverbal at the beginning of the school year. By December of that year, through social interactions with children who were (not sure if needed or just extra words) speaking, he showed interest in talking, babbling, and beginning to say words.

KenCrest even forged a significant partnership with Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE), a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of environmental risk factors to human health. This collaboration aims to help KenCrest educate families and children about protecting themselves and the environment at home, in a school setting, or even throughout their community.

Helping Children Get Ahead in Their Education

KenCrest ensures each child receives a well-rounded education by adhering to a High-Scope Curriculum, Head Start, Early Head Start, and Pre-K Counts, and offering services like our Raising a Reader program and Social-Emotional Learning.

KenCrest’s HighScope curriculum emphasizes kindergarten readiness through direct, hands-on experience with teachers, peers, materials, and events. Meanwhile, Head Start, Early Head Start, and Pre-K Counts programs encourage young learners to develop academic and social skills within a welcoming, inclusive environment.

Each center enacts Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), which, according to the Child Mind Institute, helps children learn skills like managing difficult emotions, making responsible decisions, handling stress, setting goals, and building healthy relationships.

Besides teaching students how to manage their big feelings better, KenCrest encourages parents and students to further their education at home with the Raising a Reader program.

For years, teachers noticed the lack of reading material available to students when they left school grounds. So, in 2019, the Raising a Reader program started. Each week, the program gives students a red bag filled with four books ranging from picture books to STEM publications and multicultural stories. Teachers instruct the students to bring the red bag home, and they are expected to read a book a night with their parents every night during the week. This helps them develop a closer bond with their parents and a more extensive vocabulary, form words from sounds they hear, and meet various developmental goals.


Supporting Parents While Also Educating Young Learners

KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers support its students and the family as a whole. The Raising a Reader program also offers an adult education program funded through grants from the Goodling Institute for Research at Penn State. This program provides services like workforce training, GED training, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and more. =

Plus, families can join trauma-informed parenting support groups through Trauma-Smart, a program developed by Crittenton Children’s Center that provides a community-based prevention program modeled on evidence-based interventions that help children and adults address the negative impact of violence and trauma.