Through our early childhood education program at Dixon Learning Academy (DLA), we specifically focus on preparing about 190 young children for success in school, active citizenship, productive work, and healthy and safe lives. Outcomes for children are measured through on-going observations, Work Sampling System (WSS), Ages and Stages, OUNCE tools, and nationally accepted assessments of fundamental aspects of a child’s development including initiative, self-regulation and attachment.
DLA, a program of Diversified Community Services, has been a leader in early childhood education since 1975. DLA is nationally recognized and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC sets the standard for quality early education with rigorous requirements and regulations regarding programming, staffing, and family and community involvement. DLA has also obtained a Keystone STAR 4 rating. The Keystone STARS is Pennsylvania’s program to improve the quality of early learning. It is a voluntary program that recognizes Department of Public Welfare (DPW) regulated child care providers who exceed state health and safety certification requirements. The Keystone STARS is a nationally recognized quality rating system beginning at STAR One, then progressing up through Two, Three, and Four.
Out of Philadelphia County’s 1,529 licensed child care centers, 706 are participants in STARS; 58 out of 706 are at a STAR 4 level; and 32 out of 706 STARS centers are nationally accredited. DLA is 1 of just 9 centers that are STAR 4A in the South Philadelphia/Center City area. Diversified Community Services also leads complementary initiatives to improve graduation rates, increase family financial stability, and improve access to basic needs that affect the Point Breeze community.
Point Breeze will possess a high-performing network of early childhood education centers that use high impact, evidence-based, transformative approaches to provide young children with the building blocks to succeed in a high performing educational system and 21st century workforce. These skills include both cognitive and soft skills such as adaptability, achievement, motivation, self-esteem, persistence, reliability, consistency, self-control, dependability, literacy, language, math and science.
By 2016, 100% of DLA children from the Point Breeze community in South Philadelphia will enter kindergarten with the cognitive skills and character package for success, as measured by the Work Sampling System (WSS), Early Development Instrument (EDI), and other validated evaluation tools and processes.