PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney and other officials cheered as some of Philadelphia’s youngest learners today “moved up” in a celebration at a PHLpreK center in Grays Ferry.

The ceremony at the the Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy honored students who completed their first year of PHLpreK and others who are moving up to kindergarten this Fall. It was one of dozens of Move Up events at PHLprek centers across the city, marking the completion of the program’s sixth year.

“Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy is an example of the hundreds of pre-school centers throughout this city whose staff worked tremendously hard during the pandemic to keep going,” said the Mayor. “They persevered. They combined ingenuity with dedication. Because of that, these children are moving up today.”

The Mayor also noted that today, June 16, marks the sixth anniversary of City Council passage of the landmark Philadelphia Beverage Tax, which funds PHLpreK, as well as Community Schools and Rebuild. Since its launch in January 2017, PHLpreK has served more than 13,000 children. In the coming program year, it will expand by 300 seats to serve up to 4,300 children annually.

Grays Ferry Early Learning Academy is one of more than 150 providers partnering with the City to provide free, quality PHLpreK seats for three- and four-year-olds. “I am so grateful for our partners and collaborators, many of whom faced tremendous hurdles during the pandemic,” said Deputy Mayor for Children and Families Vanessa Garrett Harley. “Yet no one gave up. They kept their eyes on the prize – and that prize is what you see here today: bright young children ready to move up! They have begun their journey of learning, and because of their enrollment in PHLpreK, they will be well prepared for Kindergarten and beyond.”

Enrollment for the 2022-23 program year is expected to open in the coming weeks. Families should monitor @PHLFamilies on Twitter and the Office of Children and Families Facebook page for updates, or visit

Photos from today’s “Move Up” celebration are available on request.