Child and Parent Center
The Hall-Mercer Child & Parent Center offers play and discussion groups for families with young children from birth up to three years of age. Hall-Mercer CPC has been Philadelphia's leader in parenting education and developmental playgroups for over 30 years. We offer experiential learning for parents and children, based on the latest research in child development and parenting education. We are a not-for-profit program run through Pennsylvania Hospital, and our goal is to provide the support and information that will give you confidence in your parenting and help you enrich your relationship with your child.
Our groups offer plenty of individual attention from expert instructors who will get to know you and your child. We will help you to understand your child's personality, tailor your parenting to your child's temperament, and meet the unique challenges of each phase in your child's life.
Our classes are carefully designed for babies, toddlers, and young children. We provide long class sessions that allow little ones to explore freely, sustain attention, learn class routines, and strengthen relationships with instructors and other children.
Our long class sessions also allow parents to build lasting friendships and to learn from each other as they find a sense of community for their new families. You can read more about what parents have to say about our program at:
Your Child's First Friends
Babies, toddlers, and young children love to spend time socializing with each other as they make their “first friends” at Hall-Mercer Child and Parent Center. In our groups, parents meet other families with children close in age to their own and have a place to learn about their child’s development, share experiences, and make new friends. Here are descriptions of each of our groups:
Exploring Parenthood is a discussion group for first-time parents with infants from three weeks up to three months of age. The group is facilitated by instructors with expertise in newborn care, infant development, and adjustment to parenthood. Parents will have the opportunity to get their questions answered, share experiences, and learn how to feel more confident in their parenting role. There is time for discussions on parenting topics and time for parents and babies to learn a variety of baby games, stories, and songs.
This class is a great way to find other parents who are in the same stage of parenting and get lots of information about how to enrich your child's development. We discuss different topics each week, whether it's getting baby into a sleep & feeding routine, returning to work, finding great childcare, tummy time/physical milestones, baby's first smiles, or the life changes that new parenthood brings. And the babies love to spend time socializing as they make their “first friends” at playgroup!
In this group, you will become more self-confident as a parent when you get answers to questions about baby care, infant sleep and feeding patterns, tummy time, soothing your baby, creating a daily routine, and your baby's physical, social, and emotional milestones. Discuss topics such as returning to work, changes in family relationships, decisions about childcare, and balancing the demands of work and family. Learn how to engage your child and nurture your baby's development through play. Meet other Center City parents and build friendships for your new family. Learn from expert child development instructors who create a sense of trust, support, community, and fun!
For Exploring Parenthood, we offer a 6-week registration option as well as a longer 10-12 week class. The 6-week option is offered so that mothers returning to work can participate in a class during their maternity leave. For more details, please see our class schedule at http://www.med.upenn.edu/hallmercer/center_schedule.shtml.
Sitters & Shakers, Creepers & Crawlers, Cruisers, and Explorers
Sitters & Shakers, Creepers & Crawlers, Cruisers, and Explorers playgroups will enjoy our developmentally stimulating play-space, along with group snack-time, sensory activities, music, stories and songs. Parents will have the opportunity to get their questions answered, share experiences, and learn how to nurture their child’s development. All our groups are facilitated by instructors with expertise in child development and adjustment to parenthood.
This class is a great way to find other parents who are in the same stage of parenting and get lots of information about how to enrich your child's development. Instructors will present information each week on parenting topics, including: developmental milestones, sleep and feeding routines, solid foods and finger foods, finding childcare, balancing work and family, language development, social skills, separation anxiety, and learning through play. And the babies love to spend time socializing as they make their “first friends” at playgroup!
In this group, you will become more self-confident as a parent when you get answers to questions about baby care, infant sleep and feeding patterns, and your baby's physical, social, and emotional milestones. Learn how to engage your child and nurture your baby's development through play. Meet other Center City parents and build friendships for your new family. Learn from expert child development instructors who create a sense of trust, support, community, and fun!
Toddlers and Terrific Twos
In our Toddlers and Terrific Twos playgroups, children will enjoy exploring our developmentally stimulating play-space as well as more structured activities like cooking projects, group snack-time, art projects, sensory activities, story-time, musical instruments, books, songs and imaginative play activities. In the spring and fall, we will also offer time to visit our private rooftop playground, where children can play in the sandbox, ride scooters and bikes, and climb in the playhouse. Our classes include a thematic “Children’s Books” curriculum--complete with art, movement activities, stories, and music to delight your child and inspire lots of imaginative play!
In this group, you will become more self-confident as a parent when you get answers to questions about your child’s physical, social, and emotional milestones. Instructors will present different parenting topics each week, including: handling tantrums, separation anxiety, sharing, social skills, potty training, positive discipline, and getting ready for preschool.
This class is a great way to find other parents who are in the same stage of parenting and get lots of information about how to enrich your child's development. Parents will enjoy getting to know new friends from their community and discussing their questions and concerns with their group members and instructor. And the children love to spend time socializing as they make their “first friends” at playgroup!
Your Younger Baby
Bringing home your second (or third!) baby is a wonderfully exciting event, and yet we know that it also presents parents with a new set of challenges. To help you address the ups and downs of parenting more than one, we offer “Your Younger Baby,” a discussion and play group specifically for second-time parents bringing a new baby into their family.
Your Younger Baby is designed for families with an older child and a new baby between the ages of 3 weeks-4 months old. Parents bring their new baby to the group, which is scheduled in the morning to allow parents ample time to drop off and pick up older siblings at preschool. In order to provide a relaxed atmosphere for conversation, this group is for parents and infants only.
The group focuses on topics related to parenting siblings, with discussions on how to encourage positive sibling relationships and manage the additional demands that come with parenting more than one child. Topics include: a review of infant care; sleep strategies and feeding issues; helping your older child(ren) to adjust; juggling the logistics of two children; managing increased demands on your time and energy; coping with emotions of stress and guilt, and finding ways to spend one-one time with each child. The group will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions, seek advice from your instructor, and problem-solve with other parents.
The group is led by an expert instructor who creates the perfect environment of trust, support, and positive guidance. You will have fun, make lasting friendships, and find camaraderie as we share the joys and challenges of building our families together.
For Your Younger Baby, we offer short 6-week registration options as well as longer 10-12 week classes. The 6-week option is offered so that parents returning to work can participate in a class during their maternity leave. For more details, please see our class schedule at http://www.med.upenn.edu/hallmercer/center_schedule.shtml.
Your Younger Child
Your Younger Child is a group just for second-time parents with a younger child between 5-14 months old. Parents bring their younger child to the group, which is scheduled in the morning to allow parents ample time to drop off and pick up older siblings at preschool. We focus on topics related to parenting siblings, with discussions how to encourage positive sibling relationships and manage the additional demands that come with having more than one child. The group is led by instructors with expertise in child development and family relationships. There is also time for socializing, sensory play activities, group snack-time, story-time, music, and songs.
To Register for a Group
You can find our schedule at http://www.med.upenn.edu/hallmercer/center_schedule.shtml. If you are interested in enrolling for any of our groups, just complete the on-line Registration Request Form on our website. We will contact you by email within 72 hours to let you know if there is a space available in our classes.
Choose a playgroup according to your child’s age at the beginning of the session. Group ages are approximate, so if you have questions about which group would be the best fit for your child's age, please feel free to call us at 215-829-5555 or email us at CPCenter@uphs.upenn.edu.
Please complete your registration request form as soon as possible! Groups fill up quickly, and registrations will be processed in the order that they are received.
Payment for the session is required in order for us to confirm your enrollment. Payment can be made by check payable to Pennsylvania Hospital. You can mail or deliver payment to our office: Room 350, Child & Parent Center, Hall-Mercer Building, Pennsylvania Hospital, 245 South 8th St., Phila PA 19106
We regret that we cannot reserve space in our groups without payment. Once groups have started, all fees are non-refundable.
Make-up Policy: We regret that we cannot discount fees for groups that you are not able to attend. However, we will try to schedule opportunities to make up missed groups whenever possible.
Twin Discount: For twins younger than 8 months, there is no additional fee. For twins older than 8 months, there is a 50% discount for the second child.
Enrollment is limited in order to provide a high-quality program in a relaxed, child-safe environment. If we do not have a group opening available, we will contact you and your check will be returned. We will definitely let you know if an opening becomes available!
If you have any questions, especially questions about choosing the best group for your child, please feel free to call us at 215-829-5555 or email us at CPCenter@uphs.upenn.edu.
If you don't see a group offered at your preferred day/time, feel free to drop us an email! We are happy to start new groups whenever possible.
If you cannot participate in this Session, but would like to be notified when new groups are offered, just email us and we will be sure to include you on our electronic mailing list.
We hope to see you and your child soon at the Hall-Mercer Child & Parent Center!
Child and Parent Center Staff