Our Story

Our Philosophy

Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center’s philosophy is to enrich the development of current young leaders in the fields of early childhood education and children’s media. We believe in providing a healthy, safe, and diversified learning environment where children have ample of opportunities to engage in a variety of age appropriate hands-on activities to build onto their prior knowledge and skills. We believe in engaging children individually and in small groups to provide opportunities for the children to work and play together for unique learning experiences.

Children’s Playhouse unique program nurtures and encourages the cognitive, social, and emotional growth of each child and fosters a lifelong love of literacy and learning. Curriculum’s are created with a keen focus on the development of each age group and are aligned with the Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

Children’s Playhouse primary goal is to prepare children for future success.

Our Mission

The Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center exist to provide a safe, developmentally appropriate, diverse and inclusive early learning center that supports children of all abilities, culture, and language; and families of all income levels. We provide a stimulating early learning environment with a focus on digital media and literacy learning experiences that supports each child’s social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development in order to prepare them for future success in school and life.

Our Vision

The Children’s Playhouse vision is to provide a happy and safe early learning environment where today’s children gain the skills needed to become tomorrow’s future. Our vision is that they leave our school with social emotional/problem solving skills, and a strong foundation in media, literacy, math, science and art; and with a positive self-esteem and high personal self-expectation for life-long learning.

Our Director

A dedicated advocate for children, Damaris Alvarado-Rodriguez has been recognized as a leader in the field of child care.

In March 2022, she was recognized with the Al Dia Women of Merit Award in the Entrepreneurial Category, shortly after being the cover story in Al Dia newspaper where she was called “The Queen of Children’s Playhouse.” The title resounded with her because she humbly credits the game of chess for her ability to strategize and plan ahead in all walks of life. Also, in 2022, Damaris was thrilled to receive the Bronze Medal for Pennsylvania’s Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion award.

Damaris’ path to childcare was circuitous, but she has always gravitated to children. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to New York and grew up in Brooklyn before moving to Philadelphia. Recognizing a need for quality child-care in the early 2000’s, she secured a license for child-care. Starting with 15 families, she was continually pursued to provide care and early education for more young people and, today, her two Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Centers in South Philadelphia do just that. She said, “I believe we have a responsibility to educate children and prepare them for kindergarten, and we take that very seriously.”

Damaris has served on various panels talking to Senators and State Representatives. She spoke at the HDPC Hearing – People’s Budget Education on March 1, 2021. Her testimony brought some people to tears, who were so moved by her story and her commitment to children. In addition, on three different occasions Children’s Playhouse has been granted The Fund for Quality (FFQ), a partnership between Reinvestment Fund and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), supported by funding from the William Penn Foundation, and Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program. Through the provision of business planning support and facilities-related financing, Fund for Quality supports high-quality early care and education providers with expanding their services to reach more low-income families.

Alvarado-Rodriguez remembers her own childhood and how fortunate she was to have a strong role model in her life. She describes her childhood as “rough,” but a mentor set her straight early in life, and she committed to giving back — coaching softball and basketball and volunteering at the YMCA. She has a magnetism that attracts children—some have called her a “Pied Piper.” Her four daughters can attest to that. 

Alvarado-Rodriguez came to Philadelphia in 2001. “I came here from New York after 9/11 because I didn’t feel safe there. Each time I heard an airplane above, I was frightened. 9/11 took a terrible toll on so many people in so many ways.”

Her first job in Philadelphia was at Jefferson Hospital in the Hematology and Oncology, never expecting to work in child-care. It was really by happenstance that it occurred. She said, “I ran into my daughter’s former camp counselor, who was holding her crying infant. The woman was worried about not having a good option for child-care and I offered to do it. I fell in love with her daughter, and, before I knew it, 15 families wanted to hire me. I secured a license, acquired premises, that my talented husband remodeled. We started accepting families right away. From the beginning, I saw this job as personally rewarding. I believe we have a responsibility to educate children and prepare them for kindergarten, and we take that very seriously.”

As demand for quality childcare grew, Children’s Playhouse expanded to two locations in South Philadelphia—Whitman and Newbold. Alvarado-Rodriguez and her staff are engaged in their communities. They are members of the neighborhood associations, regularly attend meetings, participate in local events, and actively seek opportunities to connect with families in the area.