Owner and Director, Cuddles-N-Care Day Care Center
"Some people think of pre-school as a kind of day-care, but it’s really not. It’s to get children prepared for school."
Marlo King-Brown graduated from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) with a dual certification in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and a belief that art could serve as a means of helping our youngest students prepare for a life of learning. Marlo was employed by Cuddles-N-Care in the late 1980s as an assistant while finishing her teaching certification. "Then, after I worked here for a while, the Director left and the owner asked if I would like to be the Director. A year later, the owner was considering closing the center because she didn’t have time to keep it going. We were at capacity and I said, ‘Why are you going to close it? The teachers are going to have to find jobs.’ It was really sad. Then [the owner] said, ‘How about this: Would you like to take over?’ I had never thought about it—I was going to become a classroom teacher. But when would an opportunity like that come again? That was in 1999, and from then on, Cuddles-N-Care has been mine."
Marlo's Cuddles-N-Care is a pre-school center for eighteen children. Six are in the Toddler program (from 18 months until 2 years of age), six are in the Pre-School program (for 3- and 4-year-old children), and six are in the Pre-K program (for children ages 4 and 5 years). "At the age of 5, children go on to Kindergarten—if they are born before the cut-off date of September 1st. And at that point, they are prepared. They know how to write their names and they know their letters and numbers."
Cuddles-N-Care is open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and each day begins with "Circle Time" to get them ready for the day. "About 9:00 a.m., we all gather around. We sing ‘Who Came to School Today’ and we review our numbers and our colors. We do a song. Then we have a snack and break up into our three different classrooms." It may seem like a long day ahead, but the children don’t mind a bit, and while they have all been picked up by 6:00 p.m., parents often have suggestions for extension activities at home. Parents are key to the success of any pre-school, and they are key to Marlo’s ability to take advantage of trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "My parents like their kids to get out. They like their children to go on field trips, and they are willing to foot the bill. I add up the costs and then divide the bill evenly. If parents know their children are safe, that they are enjoying themselves, and that they are learning, then they are very willing to pay for these trips. And we go to the Museum about every three to four months for a different book or program."
For more information, please contact Education: School & Teacher Programs by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .