PHILADELPHIA- Today Mayor Kenney visited PHLpreK students at Beautiful Beginnings to celebrate the successful enrollment of 2,000 children in PHLpreK for the 2017-18 school year.

Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney and Director of PHLpreK Julie Beamon joined the Mayor for the visit, and the group participated in an arts and crafts project designed for the first day of school.

“It always gives me joy to see one of our pre-K classrooms in action,” said Mayor Kenney. “The children are so creative and curious, and it’s reassuring to know that they’re in a quality learning environment during this important developmental stage. I want to thank all the parents who registered their children for this important opportunity, and to the teachers and pre-K staff who are dedicated to preparing children for life-long learning. I wish you all a safe and successful year.”

Currently, 2,000 children are attending quality PHLpreK programs across the city, and more than 400 additional children ages 3-4 are on waitlists. PHLpreK was originally planned to expand to 3,000 seats this fall, but did not due to ongoing litigation against the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

Beautiful Beginnings in Northeast Philadelphia enrolls 11 children through PHLpreK and has a wait list of 15 more families.

“There’s a clear need in Philadelphia for more affordable, quality early childhood education options and PHLpreK is our city’s answer,” said Melissa Blatz, the program director at Beautiful Beginnings. “This program is creating more opportunities for families and small businesses. I hope PHLpreK will be able to expand soon.”

Parents interested in enrolling their children in PHLpreK for the current school year are encouraged to go to to find a participating program nearby and be added to a program’s waitlist. They can also call 844-PHL-PREK to learn about what other child care subsidies they may qualify for.

For more photos from the day, visit the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education Facebook album.