The Museum’s Kindergarten Readiness Program is awarded $270,500 from Vanguard Strong Start for Kids ProgramTM and $110,000 from The William Penn Foundation to fund critical research.
In 2018, Please Touch Museum (PTM) began a multi-year effort to understand the issues of kindergarten readiness in Philadelphia. The Museum intended to develop a research-based program with the potential for citywide impact and the hope to create a national model.
Leveraging data from a year-long research initiative made possible by a previous grant from Vanguard Strong Start for KidsTM, PTM piloted the Kindergarten Readiness Program (KRP) in 2021. KRP is an on-site, evidence-based program for caregivers and children to support social-emotional skill building in a classroom setting and at home, in preparation for the child’s transition to kindergarten.
The $270,500 in funding from The Vanguard Strong Start for KidsTM Program and $110,000 from The William Penn Foundation will allow PTM to embark on two distinct research initiatives to evaluate and validate the pilot KRP initiative.
With this funding, PTM has engaged Philadelphia-based education research firm Research for Action to conduct a school-based impact study, following children who participated in KRP to determine the impact of the program on their social-emotional school readiness in the kindergarten classroom. Additionally, kindergarten readiness expert Dr. Maleka Donaldson, Assistant Professor in Education and Child Study at Smith College and former researcher with Project Zero at Harvard Graduate School of Education, will evaluate the program’s current curriculum and program delivery. The research findings will be shared through professional presentations, academic papers, and published materials for regional and national stakeholders.
Current funding for the program continues at Please Touch Museum through 2024. KRP is offered free of charge to families with PreK children living in the Parkside, Belmont, and Mantua neighborhoods. The experience of program participants is central to the research and evaluation effort, deepening the understanding of its impact on kindergarten readiness. The research also creates a foundation for future expansion across Philadelphia and in urban education across the country.
About Vanguard Strong Start for Kids ProgramTM
Vanguard Strong Start for Kids ProgramTM invests in tomorrow by supporting the development, learning and joy of young children today. The program provides funding to give children, starting before birth through age 5, the opportunity to grow, thrive and learn, with a focus on improving school readiness near our employment hubs (Greater Philadelphia, Phoenix, Charlotte and several international locations). The program is supported by generous Vanguard employee donations and volunteer hours, and corporate commitments.
About The William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, provide inclusive and equitable public spaces and arts and culture experiences, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region.