In 2017, the William Penn Foundation launched a $1.6 million Informal Learning Initiative that pairs cultural institutions with community-based organizations serving families throughout our city. Together, the partners facilitate learning opportunities engaging Pre-K children and their caregivers in creative play to help develop the children’s early language and literacy skills, an essential first step to their future success in school.
In 2019, the National Liberty Museum was awarded a three-year grant to participate in Phase II of the William Penn Foundation’s initiative. Our partner is the Salvation Army Kroc Center, a massive community center in North Philadelphia that brings high quality programming to every member of their community, from early childhood education to leadership training.
The grant partnership will significantly expand the audience for our Pre-K early language and literacy program called “Read & Romp.” At the NLM, our educators offer visitors an interactive storytelling hour for preschoolers. Twice each month, families and daycare facilities are invited to participate in this creative activity that encourages young visitors to express themselves as they explore the Social and Emotional Learning themes found in the Museum, such as empathy, respect, and honesty.
In this first spring of our grant activities, we will facilitate a total of eight free “Read and Romp” programs at the Kroc Center, including dinner for all participants, plus two free Museum Days at the NLM for Kroc Center members. Four of the events feature a story read to the children, followed by six interactive stations that emphasize the message of the book. The first was held on January 28; three more will follow on March 3, April 7 and May 9. The other four events are geared toward parents and demonstrate how they can bring engaging lessons of literacy and character home to work on with their children. The sessions for parents are scheduled for February 11, March 17, April 21 and June 2. All of the events are also open to the general public. Interested families can register at the Kroc Center Welcome Desk located at 4200 Wissahickon Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19129.