WHYY Philadelphia Highlights the Need for Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning
Featuring Senate Alexander ’06, Esq., CHS Executive Director
As families across the United States struggle to access good child care and effective early learning supports, the need for high-quality early education is only increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the learning gap, especially for children from low-income homes and other disadvantaged situations. In Pennsylvania, one solution to this education crisis is the launch of Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning—a network of centers that will offer cost-free educational, social, and cognitive programs to children from birth to age five from at-risk backgrounds.
WHYY radio, a PBS radio station in Philadelphia, interviewed CHS Executive Director Senate Alexander ’06, Esq., to learn what sets CHS apart and how its services will make a difference in the lives of Pa. children.
“It will be a full-day, weekday program that really focuses on the whole child—so, making sure that we’re giving them the skills, the values, and the individual support they need to reach their fullest potential in school and in life and at no cost to the families,” said Alexander. “We also plan to provide transportation, nutritious meals, diapers, health services, and other essentials. Lastly, in each of the centers, there will be family resource centers that would be providing a dedicated staff member who keeps them informed, who helps them connect to tools and resources, and that will help with job training.”
The first CHS site will be located on the Milton Hershey School campus and is scheduled to open in 2023. A second location is planned for Harrisburg’s Midtown neighborhood and is set to open in 2024. Each center will support about 150 children and additional locations will be announced in the coming months.