The U.S. Route 1/Baltimore Pike corridor is home to more than 12,000 residents of Latino heritage, 21 percent of the total corridor population, according to a recent study on housing and transportation options conducted by Landscapes2 under the direction of the Chester County Planning Commission. The majority of these residents (65 percent) are immigrants.
The mushroom, food service and landscaping industries are often the predominant employers, and many of the lower-paying jobs are held by both native and immigrant Latinos. These workers and other low-income Latino residents employed in retail, service and landscaping sector jobs, represent a significant disadvantaged population in southern Chester County.
The fact is, many of these “disadvantaged” people are hard workers who, for the most part, make under $10 an hour. Many have large families and no private transportation.
But their children can get a great start on life because of Tick Tock Early Learning Center in Avondale, which recently won a Four Star award for its quality program. Parents pay on a sliding scale based on income. This makes it affordable for them, and gives their children a huge head start on education.
Jackie Maas, executive director of Tick Tock, gives the children a warm, loving and nurturing environment, while stressing English immersion. Children who enroll at Tick Tock come in knowing little or no English language, but leave with a basic concept of it. Often, they become translators for their parents.
“Our students become fluent in English while developing the school readiness skills they need to begin kindergarten,” Maas said.
Tick Tock is a rare gem in our community. It’s a non-profit supported by many local agencies, including United Way of Southern Chester County, the Longwood Rotary Club and more. Children get more than education. They have access to dentistry, eye care and immunizations, all provided for free or at an extremely reduced price.
Maas takes a personal interest in every child enrolled at Tick Tock. The children are respectful and taught manners, two traits that have been disappearing over the past few decades. The structure fits well in the classroom. The entire staff at Tick Tock makes sure each child receives individualized attention.
Tick Tock is now embarking on a fund-raising campaign for an expanded kitchen. The kitchen facility now is outdated and too small to serve a growing student population of more than 100.
We congratulate the staff at Tick Tock for serving the community for the past 50 years and we hope the community will continue to support it for many more years to come. It’s a real gem in southern Chester County.