Raising AFEL Voices: Felicia Taylor-Powell & Mariah Powell
Taylor's Learning Academy
“I ENJOY WORKING WITH AFEL BECAUSE IT IS AN ASSET TO PROVIDERS BY HELPING CHILDCARE CENTERS REACH HIGHER QUALITY. AFEL SUPPORTS US AND KEEPS US INFORMED WITH ANY NEW OR UPDATED INFORMATION REGARDING CHILDCARE.”
— Felicia Taylor-Powell, Founder
Felicia Taylor–Powell has been an anchor for early learning in the West Philadelphia community for more than 25 years. Since 1994, she has been operating Taylor’s Learning Academy Inc. Working in the early learning field as a teenager, Felicia knew she wanted to make a difference in children's lives by providing them an educational foundation – now, she is passing Taylor’s Learning Academy Inc. to her daughter, Mariah Powell, who is taking over.
Team Taylors has been engaged in West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning since the program started and are very active in attending the events, meetings and trainings AFEL offers.
“I enjoy working with AFEL because it is an asset to providers by helping childcare centers reach higher quality. AFEL supports us and keeps us informed with any new or updated information regarding childcare,” Felicia said. “AFEL helps centers find solutions to any barriers we may face as educators and they have mentor programs for myself and center.” Among Mariah and Felicia’s favorite things about the AFEL partnership is the one-on-one mentoring that supported her personal development and the collaboration opportunities with other organizations in the community such as the Academy of Natural Sciences. “My favorite thing about AFEL is the opportunity to network with others who share the same passion in the field,” Mariah said. “One thing I love the most about being a part of AFEL is the support from everyone.”
Taylor’s Learning Academy Inc. students have benefitted from the AFEL partnership in many ways. The pointed to coaching from Children’s Literacy Initiative that allowed them to implement early literacy strategies into the classrooms. “Our children have benefitted from the program with allowing their vocabulary to expand, teaching fundamentals of literacy, and creating a classroom environment and culture that motivates children to read, write and become thinkers,” Felicia said.
The majority of the staff at Taylor's Learning Academy Inc. has received their degrees in ECE or a related field. They also have staff members who have obtained their CDA and are currently attending Harcum participating in teaching programs to further their education. Mariah and Felicia both pointed to one opportunity in particular which was very impactful to both of them. Through a visit arranged by Drexel University and AFEL, representatives from the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Foundation as well as the Executive Director of First Up visited Taylors. In addition to providing a tour of the facility, both Mariah and Felicia said they had the opportunity to share with the funders their strong appreciation of AFEL’s support and its impact on both their program and, most importantly, the teachers and children. They would suggest any early education provider join AFEL due to the great networking connection between providers and other professionals. “You will gain a partnership with other organizations and AFEL will assist you and your center with accomplishing business goals as well,” Felicia said.
“Thank you so much for having an awesome program for child providers in West Philly,” she concluded. “This program gave us the opportunity to speak for our children and rise our quality of care in the community”