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Maker’s Series: Fishtown Playschool Creates a Chance to Create and Give Back

  Fishtown Playschool started in the living rooms of 11 families in 2013. Nearly three years later, in the annex of The First Presbyterian Church of Kensington (418 E Girard Ave), parents are still the driving force of the playschool.

   The organization started an adults-only Maker’s Series in November to fundraise and give parents the opportunity for a night out — something that doesn’t come so easily, said Abby Bronstein, a co-founder of the playschool.

   The series started on November 11th with a pasta making and wine tasting event at Franklin and Poe (1817 Frankford Ave.), followed by a holiday wreath making workshop at Palmer Pond Art Center (1431 E Montgomery Ave.). The next event is a pottery making session on January 14th at The Clay Studio in Old City (137-139 N 2nd St).


Christine Morrissey Grubb./Grace Shallow

   The playschool meets three days a week from 9:30AM to 12:30PM to offer kids aged 2-5 a play-based start to their education. Christine Morrissey Grubb, a co-founder and teacher at the playschool, said creativity is encouraged in the classroom.

   To start their mornings, children have a long free play in whatever space of the playschool they choose, including options like the block corner, sensory bin, library, sculpture table and science center.

   “We are a play-based environment so all of our learning experiences are made through play… We try to bring their learning experiences to those areas,” Morrissey Grubb said.

/Grace Shallow

/Grace Shallow

   Bronstein said the fundraising series reflects the creativity of the neighborhood and parents.

   “Given the nature of our neighborhood, the families that come here are artistic and creative,” Bronstein said. “We were trying to tap into the talents of our own community to lead these.”

   Ceramicists Sara Gallo and John Williams, two parents of children in the playschool, are leading the upcoming pottery making event. Gallo said participants will use a pottery wheel to create something, decorate it and bring it home.

/Grace Shallow

/Grace Shallow

   Tickets for the pottery making event can be purchased on Eventbrite. The cost of $50 includes time at the wheel, all materials and the firing fee.

    Bronstein said the previous events in the series were sold out and she expects no different for the pottery making event due to the quality of the programming.

   She added that the money raised by the Maker’s Series is the first step in a “strategic planning process” to fundraise for a new space for the playschool to accommodate a growing wait list of interested families.

   Gallo, a member of the playschool’s Development Committee, helped with the initial planning of the fundraiser. The committee formed in October to discuss how to improve the program and its presence in the community, Gallo said.

  “We talk about building community relationships and how we can strengthen our relationships to other businesses and other institutions and other nonprofits in the community,” she added.


/Grace Shallow

   None of the events in the series are hosted at the Fishtown Playschool to encourage people to “utilize the spaces of the community,” Bronstein said.

   She added that anyone from the neighborhood or outside of it, not just parents of children in the playschool, are welcome to attend the series.

   “It’s not just writing a check for the school, it’s a night out for adults,” Bronstein said. “The whole other part of the Maker’s Series is they can leave with something… It’s an experience.”

You can buy tickets to the next Maker’s Series Event at the Fishtown Playschool website http://www.fishtownplayschool.org/events-1/ •

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