Facts & Figures

“Malaika” is a Swahili word meaning “little angel.”

Demographics & Enrollment

  • Malaika Early Learning Center is located in Milwaukee’s Harambee community which encompasses more than 200 city blocks with 70,000 residents in 23,000 households.
  • The demographics of the families with children currently enrolled at Malaika include:
    • 62% come from a single-parent household
    • 81% of parents earn incomes at or below the Federal low-income levels
    • 75% of parents receive W-2 benefits
    • 100% of kindergarten parents receive Choice tuition reimbursement
    • 95% of Malaika children participate in the free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch program
    • 95% of our children are African-American and 5% are Latino
  • Malaika is licensed to serve 70 children at one time, and the enrollment in the K3-K5 programs averages 65. Including kindergarten, childcare, and before/after school programming, Malaika serves an average of 100 children throughout the day.
  • In fall 2009 Malaika opened an additional K-3 classroom, in fall 2010 we opened an additional K-4 classroom, and in fall 2011 we’ll be opening an additional K-5 classroom. Malaika’s enrollment has increased 25% since 2008.
  • In the seven years since Malaika opened, over 550 low-income Milwaukee children have benefited from Malaika’s exemplary early learning program.

Skilled Teaching

  • In an industry where 35-40% staff turnover is the norm, Malaika’s staff is dedicated. Every teacher returned to Malaika for the 2010-2011 school year. Three instructors have been teaching at Malaika for 5+ years, and four instructors for 3+ years.
  • All Malaika staff are licensed and certified, every kindergarten class is led by a degreed teacher, and assistants in the childcare classrooms either have, or are working toward, an associate degree in early childhood education.
  • The Celebrate Children Foundation Scholarship of the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund awarded a $5,000 scholarship to one of our teachers, Pamela Harrell, to earn certification in Infants and Children’s Mental Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon completion, Ms. Harrell will implement a guidance program for our kindergarten children.
  • Each student at Malaika is assessed quarterly to determine their academic, emotional and physical developmental needs and progress. This information is used by teachers in their day-to-day planning to ensure students’ needs are addressed.
  • All lesson plans at Malaika are reviewed weekly by the school director.

Enrichment Activities In addition to our model curriculum, highly-skilled teaching, and low student-teacher ratios, Malaika offers enrichment activities such as:

  • Weekly music education through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
  • French language class through the Alliance Française de Milwaukee
  • Nature education in partnership with the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
  • Bi-monthly educational field trips around Milwaukee
  • Summer program featuring art enrichment by Artists Working in Education (AWE)

Measurable Achievement

  • 95% of our children leave Malaika at or above grade level for their next stage of education.
  • 90% of Malaika’s students go on to private schools.
  • Between fall 2007 and January 2008, all of Malaika’s 3- and 4-year-olds eligible for Head Start showed an increase in every outcome measure: self-awareness, speaking/listening, emergent literacy, writing, pre-academic math/science, music/art/creative play, and fine motor skills.
  • In 2010, Malaika received additional Title I funds that allowed six of our K-5 children to receive extra math instruction.
  • In 2010, we graduated 10 children who are thriving and ready to meet the challenge of first grade in the private schools they are attending.

Social & Economic Value

  • Research indicates that life outcomes are largely determined by the time a child reaches first grade. The basic social, intellectual and emotional foundation developed in those early years is the critical factor for future development and social integration.
  • According to Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, an investment in quality early childhood education like Malaika’s returns nearly 100 times its value to society over the lifetime of the child.


  • Government contracts and fees from parents cover only 80% of Malaika’s cost of operations. The other 20% must come from generous donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • To ensure that parents can afford to bring their children to Malaika, we use a sliding-fee scale and work with parents receiving W-2 benefits.

Family & Community

  • Family involvement is an important aspect of Malaika’s programming. Each year we offer an average of 85 hours of family enrichment activities including social and family gatherings, as well as educational sessions on topics like stimulating child brain development and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Malaika hosts a monthly Hands Around First Street Block Club neighborhood meeting, maintaining a strong presence in the surrounding Harambee community.
  • Malaika offers many rewarding opportunities for volunteers, including holding and cuddling infants, reading to children and helping with literacy, playing games and supervising recess, art activities, attending field trips, and assisting with French class.

125 West Auer Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212 | 414-562-4997
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