Photography By: Joseph V. Labolito
Temple University’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to allow the College of Education to pursue pre-construction planning and architectural designs for a new early-childhood education facility in North Philadelphia.
The Alpha Center, an approximately 70,000-square-foot facility, will primarily provide pre-K for 130 children who reside in the neighborhoods around Main Campus. Children of university employees will also be eligible for enrollment.
The proposed center, which will include a community dental clinic, is planned for a Temple-owned parcel at 13th and Diamond streets.
“All children have the right to an education that will set them on the path to health, success and wellbeing,” said Gregory Anderson, dean of the College of Education. “This is particularly true in North Philadelphia, a community that has long been under-resourced and underserved despite recognized, unmet needs. Temple University’s College of Education is renewing its commitment to its North Philadelphia neighbors by stepping forward to create an anchor for change in the heart of the community.”
The College of Education plans to partner with Montgomery Early Learning Centers, a regional education provider, to operate the center, which will actively promote diversity and inclusion by recruiting children from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of abilities.
In addition, the Alpha Center will offer services to North Philadelphia families that extend beyond pre-kindergarten curriculum. These include:
an after-school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab with structured activities to help middle and high school students to better understand the fields and consider them as career pathways;
on-site dental care for children, community residents, Temple students and employees provided by the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry; and
- support to help the career development of community members.
Temple students will also benefit from the new center through hands-on learning opportunities under the direction of senior teachers.
“The experience Temple students gain will help sustain a strong pipeline of early childhood educators who are prepared to improve the quality of pre-K education throughout Philadelphia,” Anderson said.