Senator Bob Casey directs $1 million in the 2022 fiscal spending bill to PTM’s Kindergarten Readiness Program and an additional $500,000 for investments in the Museum’s home in historic Memorial Hall.
On June 30, 2022, Senator Bob Casey visited Please Touch Museum to meet with families participating in the final cohort of its pilot Kindergarten Readiness Program, a research-based program that partners with families to help young children develop social-emotional skills needed to navigate the critical transition to kindergarten. During the visit, Senator Casey witnessed the early success of the pilot program which was made possible through the support of Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program.
“Today, I had the privilege of joining the Kindergarten Readiness Program graduation and meeting the future generation of leaders,” said Senator Casey. “It’s never too early to start preparing our youngest minds for the future, and that’s exactly what the Please Touch Museum is doing. We’re setting kids up for success in kindergarten and beyond. I was proud to help secure this funding for the Please Touch Museum and the City of Philadelphia’s smallest residents.”
The Kindergarten Readiness Program addresses several crucial issues facing families with young children in Philadelphia — notably, the lack of socialization opportunities before entering formal learning environments due to the pandemic, and access to high-quality early childhood learning programs. The program was born from research that demonstrated, among the many complexities facing young children, that environmental factors have a significant impact on underdeveloped social and emotional skills. If children are to learn and thrive in the classroom, they need a strong foundation for processing their emotions and feelings.
Foundational to the program development was recognizing the adult caregivers — parents, grandparents, foster parents, or other parental figures — are their child’s first teacher. To have a lasting impact, adult caregivers must be supported and celebrated for the critical role they play in their child’s future. Please Touch Museum knew its program must focus on supporting the social and emotional growth of the whole child — in and out of the classroom — if there was going to be long-term, sustainable change for the child.
Phase 2 of Kindergarten Readiness at Please Touch Museum has been accelerated with $1 million in federal support, providing the needed resources to advance important strategic priorities for the program from 2022-2024.
EARLY PILOT RESULTS
“This is a proud day for Please Touch Museum as we display the real results of the pilot program and the announcement of this critical federal funding that will allow us to continue the work of our Kindergarten Readiness program,” said Patricia D. Wellenbach, president and CEO of Please Touch Museum. “Entering kindergarten is a major developmental milestone for young children and their families. The Kindergarten Readiness program is supporting the journey from home to school, focused on the social-emotional skills needed for a successful transition to kindergarten. We thank Senator Casey for his unwavering dedication in advocating for our programs and supporting the communities who need it the most.”
Families who are interested in participating in the Kindergarten Readiness Program at Please Touch Museum when it resumes this coming winter can visit PTM’s Kindergarten Readiness webpage for further information and to submit an application form.
Additional Funding for Please Touch Museum
The federal funding secured for PTM by Senator Casey is also being used to restore the Museum’s home, Memorial Hall, as a community and regional asset, firmly establishing it as an anchor institution in Philadelphia and positioning it as a go-to destination for events surrounding the national celebration of the country’s 250th birthday in 2026. An additional $500,000 federal grant will allow PTM to complete historic preservation work inside the Museum, including refurbishment of the floor in Hamilton Hall, which is original to the building dating back to 1876.