Mercy Children’s Academy

Mercy Children’s Academy at Mother of Mercy House


Countless studies verify PreK launches educational success and a life pathway.  For children living in poverty, suffering daily distress, the impact is substantially greater.  Research confirms quality early education reduces teen pregnancies, juvenile delinquency and begins to break the cycle of poverty.  Our high quality, Catholic Academy Preschool, focused exclusively on children age 3 and 4, provides a specialized curriculum, in a safe and loving environment, conducive to learning for children experiencing trauma.  Partnered with MoMH, we bring the gospel to life, sharing the love and mercy of God, providing hope and the beginning of a new trajectory for families

MCA will be located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.  It’s the epicenter of the east coast urban opioid crisis.  Open air drug markets exist on neighborhood streets.  Gun violence is rampant. Homelessness and addiction overwhelm the neighborhood.  The living environment is chaotic, leaving children who have no control over their circumstances vulnerable. Also, among its residents, Kensington suffers the highest poverty rates in Philadelphia.  41.2% live below the poverty line.  For households with children the statistics are even more staggering. 

It is also critical to note the ethnic diversity.  In particular, it’s a high-density Hispanic community.  Largely Puerto Rican with a significant Dominican population, the number of Catholics is also substantial.  MoMH already effectively connects with these communities including bilingual liturgies, community services and events. 

It is well documented that education and poverty are inextricably connected.  There is clear evidence early childhood education is critical to properly prepare children for elementary school and beyond.  For children in Kensington, there is much more at stake.  Educators report, children from low-income households often arrive at kindergarten substantially less prepared than those from higher-income families. Even worse, those who enter school less prepared usually never catch up, repeating grades and ultimately dropping out of high school. 

Working in tandem with MoMH, MCA has the opportunity to meet a critical need in our Kensington neighborhood, with a unique, Catholic, family centered PreK, specifically tailored for children navigating this chaotic, urban environment within our location’s immediate radius.  MoMH has the capacity to accommodate MCA within its existing facility plus the experience and community support to assist in successfully implementing this program within the mission. 

Parent infusion will be paramount in our program.  Studies have shown when parents actively participate with their child’s early childhood education, they are more likely to stay involved when their child enters elementary school, contributing to the student’s success. Studies also suggest parents with limited resources often distance themselves from their children’s educational community.  Reasons include lack of confidence, intimidation or their own negative past experiences. They are often in their own downward cycle of despair and brokenness.  This is also a cycle that we seek to disrupt.   As we invest in their kids, we ask them to also invest in their kids, and in doing so, they’re encouraged and supported to invest in themselves.  Working together, we will ensure the needs of the whole child, physically, emotionally, spiritually and academically are met, while putting the entire family on a new path.  Our school will provide an exceptional educational head start for the children, and our family centered approach will magnify our impact, helping to transform this broken community.  

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to learn more about Mercy Children’s Academy!

Dianne C. Hoffmann, Executive Director, MCA

Fr. Liam Murphy, Board Chair, MCA