HistoryMoonstone Inc. is a 501(c) (3) organization founded by Larry and Sandy Robin in 1983. Larry is an artist and third generation bookstore owner. Sandy is an artist and early childhood educator. Together, they wished to incorporate their separate activities with children and adults into a unified program with a single philosophy and goal: true education must go beyond merely imparting information. The founders share a core belief in education as a process that continues along the lifespan. It is enriched by the breadth and depth of diverse thought and stimulates the perspectives of others. For ten years, the Preschool was located on 9th & Catherine Street, in the heart of the Italian market. In 2009, Moonstone Preschool expanded to a brand new facility nearby on 11th Street. The preschool offers a caring and stimulating environment, which aims to foster the children’s educational strengths, promote positive self-expression, and facilitate the growth of free, inquisitive, independent, diverse, and cooperative minds.
Diversity at MoonstoneMoonstone values diversity in every aspect. We strive to make learning accessible to all children and we believe it is important to experience an environment that embraces people's differences. Our curriculum is child-centered and our teaching style is a reflection of each child's individuality.
Anniversary CelebrationIn 2013, Moonstone celebrated its thirtieth anniversary! Over the past three decades, Moonstone has grown into a magical organization, paving the way for education in Philadelphia. Its creative approach and dedication to arts education has embedded a life-long love of learning in everyone it has touched. The organization held an anniversary party for its current families, alumni, and local community supporters in celebration of all its accomplishments.
Though Robin’s Bookstore has closed, the Arts Center plans to continue holding cultural programing for adults at different venues throughout the city. 2013 began with a 15 program series about Ida B. Wells and continued on with Women Stepping Out: How the Civil War Changed ‘A Women’s Place’. In 2014, the Arts Center honored Octavius V. Catto and Charlotte Forten Grimke`. The Arts Center plans to continue applying for program grants and building a membership list of program participants dedicated to the arts, in all its forms.
Moonstone Preschool hopes to build its financial assistance program to help support current families in need and to gain families that would not otherwise apply. The organization is exploring new opportunities for growth.
Moonstone has had a huge impact on the Philadelphia community for 30 years and continues to prove that the arts, creativity, and imagination are essential aspects of life, learning and community. Developing a love of learning at this early stage carries on for a lifetime. Moonstone dreams of making art education accessible to more families in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.
Help Us Stay Around for Another 30 Years...Even with all of Moonstone’s accomplishments, there is still much to be done! To keep Moonstone flourishing, we need your help. Here is an idea of how much your contribution means to us:
- $100 provides the preschool with snack for a week
- $300 purchases one month of art supplies for curriculum
- $900 sponsors one month of tuition for a child in need
- $1500 allows the arts center to organize programing, such as Ida B. Wells
- Moonstone Inc. obtains its 501 (c) (3) status
- Sandy does a production of Alice in Wonderland and discovers Howard Gardner
- The Moonstone after-school program becomes Moonstone Preschool at 4th & Bainbridge
- Moonstone begins its annual Celebration of the Black Writing Conference
- Sandy gets a four-year-grant from the Pew Foundation
- Moonstone produces five major curriculum productions
- Moonstone begins an annual Paul Robeson Festival
- The Preschool moves to the 9th & Catharine Street location
- George Barrick becomes Interim Director of the preschool
- Moonstone holds its first Festival Cubano and starts The Philadelphia Social Forum
- Moonstone acts as a sponsor and collaborates with Ladyfest Philly
- Moonstone collaborates with the Poets Among Us Festival
- Moonstone presents Thomas Paine’s Legacy: Three Centuries of Revolution in Phila
- The Preschool starts First Fridays
- Moonstone receives a grant from the William Penn Foundation for strategic planning
- Reorganization of the Moonstone Inc Board of Directors
- The Preschool begins its collaboration with the Expressive Hand
- The Moonstone Arts Center is created
- The Preschool expands to the 11th Street location
- The Arts Center creates the Hidden History project
- The Arts Center honors Thomas Paine, John Brown, Francis Harper, and Lily Yeh
- Sandy Robin retires as Preschool Director
- The Preschool starts a connection with Academy of Palumbo High School and Community Integrated Services
- The Preschool's begins the Annual Fundraiser Dinner & Auction
- Kim Carter becomes the Preschool Director
- The Arts Center begins the People's Civil War project
- The Preschool collaborates with Anthropologie's design team and shows student artwork at the Urban Outfitters Gallery at the Naval Yard
- The Arts Center commemorates Martin Delany and Bill Ayers
- The Arts Center's first Annual Fundraiser event
- Moonstone starts a 401k retirement program for its employees
- The Arts Center honors Ida B. Wells
"Moonstone is where I first learned of Rudyard Kiplings "Aesops Fables" and made the monsters, of "Where the Wild Things Are", come to life. My imagination was given a voice and movement here. I still listen to that voice. It's alive and well inside of me. I am eternally grateful for the lessons I have learned at Moonstone and from Sandy. It has truly made me who I am today!" - James Lane (alumni and past music teacher)
“Part of my night time routine with Ez is rubbing his back for a few minutes . Last night when I was rubbing Ez’s back before bed, he lifted his head up and said ‘Mommy, when you rub my back, I hear Moonstone singing”. - Laurie Leas (former parent)
“Having Mr. Robin from the Moonstone Art Center bring Mr. Frank Meeink to speak at Taggart was one of the highlights of the year for our 7th and 8th graders. They were mesmerized by his presentation more than any other that I have ever witnessed. Being a very racially diverse school, his message was vital for our students to learn and his delivery was exactly on their level.” - Diane Phillips (Taggart Elementary School)
“I just wanted to say again how pleased I am that Boun Lod has had a positive experience at school. This is as important to her development as the surgery for her physical wounds. Lao is a poor country, and handicapped people tend to be kept home and ‘out of sight’. Boun Lod was not allowed to go to a public school, and even the private school that we managed to get her into was very reluctant. So it's been great for Boun Lod to go to school, to mix with "normal" kids, and to be a normal kid herself. Hopefully it's shown her that she's the same as the others, but that she just has some challenges. I hope this attitude will stay with her and her parents when she returns home, and that they'll be confident enough to push for what she deserves. Given the limitations of her culture, only education will give her the ability to provide for herself, and to have a fulfilling life. I know her experience at Moonstone has reinforced that within her. The lessons that she has learned at Moonstone will serve her well for the rest of her life. “ - Gordon Petersen (sponsor of scholarship student, Boun Lod P.)
“I am delighted to contribute my two cents in regard to the marvelous Moonstone program. Before I was invited to participate in Martin Delany Week I had not heard of Moonstone Arts Center. Happily, I soon learned that I was participating in a program with deep historic roots in Philadelphia that continues to make a very important contribution to art, history, literary and political education for teens and adults. At a time when bookstores, public schools and gathering spots for community seem to be under siege, you are providing a valuable public service by bringing community people together to learn and share the relevance of an underappreciated historical figure like Delany to our social and political lives today. On a personal note, I was delighted that the demands of participating in a panel for students in the morning and another for grownups in the evening was not exhausting, as I feared it might be. I was also pleasantly surprised by the level of intelligence and engagement that both of our audiences displayed . The students were delightfully attentive and the evening group included knowledgeable audience members who made valuable contributions to the discussion. I don’t have a lot of suggestions to make for improving the program other than to hope that you keep it going and find ways to let even more people know about it. We need spaces like you have provided for people to hear authors and experts and learn from one another. The Internet can’t do everything. Best wishes for your continued success.” - Clarence Page (columnist and board member, Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau)
The Moonstone Board is comprised of current parents, alumni parents, artists, and community members. Their role is to oversee Moonstone Inc. as a non-profit and to maintain operation in accordance with its mission. They are responsible for fundraising, setting important policies, and ensuring that the organization meets legal requirements.
The Moonstone Board is consists of a Preschool Committee and an Art Center Committee, which is overseen by the Executive Board.
The Board of 2015-2016:
Art Center Committee
- What is the school's total enrollment? Our enrollment average for the whole school is about 100 children.
- How many spots do you anticipate being open every year? There is an average of 25 spots that are open each year, between all four age groups.
- How many new children are added to each group every year? The amount of new children in each group changes annually.
- When can I send in my application? Applications will only be accepted from October 1 - December 31, prior to the year they would be enrolled.
- Do you charge an application fee? Yes, we charge a $50 non-refundable processing fee. Your application will not be processed if the fee is not enclosed (we accept checks and money orders). The processing fee is waived for families who qualify for subsidy; see the Subsidized Care tab for details.
- Do you accept subsidy? Yes, we do accept subsidy. Please see the Subsidized Care tab on the Enrollment page for more information.
- Does my child have to attend all the hours they are contracted for? No, but you are financially responsible for all contracted time.
- How old must my child be in order to be eligible? All applicants must be at least 18 months within September of the year that they are applying, but no older than 5 years as of September 1 of the year that they are applying.
- Does my child need to be potty trained? It is not required that your child(ren) be potty trained to attend Moonstone. However, in order to participate in field trips, children must be potty trained.
- Do many families from the neighborhood enroll? Yes, many of our current families do live in walking distance but we do have students from all over the city.
- What happens if my child does not receive a spot this year? Moonstone will keep your application on file until March. We will continue to pull from the lottery if a spot opens up mid-year. If this does not happen, you must re-apply for the following year.
- How does Moonstone maintain diversity? Moonstone strives to make learning accessible to all children, and we believe it is important to experience an environment that embraces people's differences. Interaction should be with people who do not look alike, sound alike, think alike, or solve problems in the same ways. This is why we embrace Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. It allows teachers to tap into the individual learning style of each child and to see multiple approaches to everything. The various intelligences correspond to art forms and there is no single answer to anything. Admissions through our basic lottery are made without regard to race, color, religion, creed, disability, ancestry, national origin (including limited English proficiency), age, or sex. We give preference in enrollment to siblings and families who qualify for CCIS subsidy.
- What are your hours of operation? Moonstone is open from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm.
- Does your school close in the summer? No, Moonstone is open year around.
- When does Moonstone close? Moonstone is closed on national holidays and during inclement weather (when the School District of Philadelphia is closed). A closure list is provided once you are enrolled.
- Do you accept credit cards as a method of payment? At this time, Moonstone does not accept credit cards.
- What are your class sizes? The class sizes slightly vary annually. They average 13 in the new moon group (18 months-2yrs), 18 in the blue moon group (2-3yrs), 21 in the half moon group (3-4yrs), and 23 in the full moon group (4-5yrs).
- What is your teacher to child ratio? Moonstone, at minimum, follows the state requirements for each age group; but we try to average a 1:5 ratio throughout the entire school regularly.
- What happens during curriculum? Moonstone’s curriculum is based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. There is a weekly/monthly central theme that all of the classes are focused on. The classes include library, art, music, ABC’s, and spanish. A sample of the daily schedule can be found on the Enrollment page.
- Do all age groups intermingle at any time throughout the day? Yes, all age groups have time to interact during the day. The two main times are during whole school music in the morning and during free expression in the afternoon.
- Do you take the children on field trips? Yes. There are about two field trips per month. We take the children all over the city and surrounding areas. Children must be potty trained and scheduled to attend school on the day of the trip. Field trips are an additional cost apart from tuition.
- How do you get to field trips? We use a trusted bus company to get to our field trip destinations. We have been using the same company for over five years.
- Where do your children go out to play? Weather permitting, we go Seger Park or Hawthorne Park in the morning and to Palumbo park in the afternoon. All outings are at the discretion of the director.
- How often do parents get to meet with teachers or administration? Moonstone schedules parent/teacher conference twice a year to discuss each child’s development individually. On a daily basis, parents are able to schedule a meeting with the director or casually speak with teachers about any concerns.
- Does Moonstone have a kindergarten program?
No, Moonstone does not have a kindergarten program. Since Moonstone prides itself on working with parents for the benefit of their children, we are available to consult on the kindergarten selection progress.
- How many people make up your staff? We currently have twenty people on staff.
- What are the educational backgrounds of the staff? Moonstone prides itself on the diversity of its staff. The director, has a Master’s Degree in Education. The rest of the staff, both male and female, have a mixture of backgrounds in education and the arts.
- What background checks are required for your staff? Moonstone requires that every staff member have a Child Abuse clearance, a Criminal check, and an FBI check.
- What training does your staff have? Moonstone requires that all staff is trained in First Aid / CPR, Fire Safety, and receives twelve hours of annual education training. Trainings have included topics such as Howard Gardner, Inclusive Classrooms, NAEYC Accreditation, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Social & Emotional Development, Positive Discipline Techniques, Behavior Management, Child Observation, Peer Communication, and Parent Communication.
Save the Date...
- Moonstone's 7th Annual Dinner & Silent will be held Thursday, April 6th from 7pm-10pm at Percy St. BBQ!
United Way #48916