Carmen Jenkins starts each workday like many PHLpreK families. She brings her daughter to pre-K, a short drive from her house. “It’s super convenient.” Then, she commutes to Center City where she works full-time for the PPA.

Thanks to the City’s free, quality pre-K program, Carmen is able to save on the typically high costs of quality pre-K, earn more money by working extra hours, and save for her family’s future.

Carmen’s from the Northeast and enrolled Gemma at Beautiful Beginnings when her daughter was 4 months old. The location is convenient to her home and commute, and Carmen has become close with the staff over the years.

“Gemma was 7 months old when my husband passed away and if I didn’t have them I don’t know what I would have done.”

Carmen loves Beautiful Beginnings and so does Gemma. Gemma enjoys science lessons at the center most, and is currently collecting leaves for a project about trees. She also recently learned how to recycle, and is always talking about all the books she’s reading.

Gemma’s interests change daily, and Carmen loves that Beautiful Beginnings is always introducing her to something new. Over the last three years, Gemma has marched in the center’s annual Week of the Young Child parades dressed as a doctor, superhero, and mom.

And while Gemma still has one year of pre-K ahead, she is well on her way to kindergarten. Carmen is proud that Gemma is practicing letters and interacting with peers.

“I have peace of mind knowing that she’s in a safe place where she’s learning things that she can use when she gets to kindergarten,” said Carmen. “I see a difference in how much she’s learning and how much she’s branching out into new things.”

Carmen is eager for Gemma to remain curious and continue her education thanks to PHLpreK.

“[Education] is what everything is all about. The smarter you are, the more education you get the further you’ll go in life.”

That’s why she says she would recommend PHLpreK to other families. “[PHLpreK] has been nothing but a benefit for Gemma,” said Carmen.

She believes the Philadelphia Beverage Tax has helped her family and others.

“It’s going to educating young children,” said Carmen. “That’s amazing, to see and know where it’s going. So many times in politics you don’t know where anything is going, you have no idea. But to be a part and see has been eye opening.”

Will your child be 3 or 4 by September 1? If so, it's time to start thinking about the City’s free, quality pre-K! Sign up here to get enrollment updates!