We Rock the Spectrum is giving a safe space for children in Northeast Philly
New owner Kelly McAllister recently held a grand reopening for the facility, which is a key resource for families heading towards the new school year.
We Rock the Spectrum (WRTS), an indoor playground and daycare center for children on the autistic spectrum, with special needs, and all children under 12 years old, recently celebrated its grand reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owner of its Northeast Philly location, Kelly McAllister, said it was her desire to own a center like it to witness future generations grow up and explore in a safe, free space.
“Our motto is finally a place where you never have to say I'm sorry,” McAllister said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News.
She has been the new owner of WRTS’s Northeast Philly location for four months.
“I thought to myself and said, you know, this is the neighborhood where my husband grew up and I have three children of my own, maybe this is a way to give back to the community and be a part of something rewarding,” McAllister said.
Before she took ownership of the Northeast Philly location, she and her son were customers there. McAllister saw the great interaction between the children and teachers involved.
“Seeing my son enjoy the space was really nice and then we got an email that the previous owners were moving on to something else and they were looking for a new owner,” she said.
The Northeast Philly location is just one of 93 nationwide. WRTS was originally founded by Dina Kimmel, a California mother whose son was diagnosed with autism.
She wanted families to never go through the extreme circumstances she went through with her son.
“They were going to different places and never finding a place where they felt comfortable and he wasn't overstimulated,” said McAllister.
Children from all ages are able to use the open space, which is sensory-friendly. The space includes 12 pieces of equipment that are specific and unique. The gym includes a zipline and a specially-designed slide.
“It encourages children to use upper body strength and endurance,” said McAllister. “All of the pieces have sensory base pieces. We have equipment for relaxation and balance control.”
WRTS also has a program called We Rock Care services for parents who need a break. They also have a Pop Rock learning preschool program, which will be available for children during the upcoming school year.
McAllister explained that there are multiple spots available for children in Philadelphia. She is hoping open spots will soon fill up.
“We are also looking into various other parent support groups and potentially yoga and things like that with the children,” she said.
Its Pop Rock preschool program will focus on song and dance, creativity, social awareness, and some introduction to pre-reading, writing and math skills. Children involved in the program will also have full use of the gym.
WRTS is a unique program and care service like no other. The rooms are open, spacious, and there is also a calming room for children who are having a tough time.
“Our sensory room is for children to decompress,” said McAllister. “We have a noise machine, a bubble tube lamp, and various objects for them to touch and feel.”
The location is looking for various instructors in the Fall to help run its different programs.