• Interview with Mekanic’s Katie Hansen

    October 7, 2020 Susan Keightley
    Katie Hansen, Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer at Mekanic - premier branding agency and Alexandria Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year - recently joined CFNC's Communications Committee. We sat down with her and picked her brain about her work with Alexandria businesses and learning more about Mekanic's collaboration with Smart Beginnings. CFNC: As a business, what sets the community of Alexandria apart from other communities? Katie: We have experienced a local business community that is sincerely welcoming, altruistic, and unpretentious. Professionals and leaders in Alexandria make helpful introductions and readily share knowledge so businesses can grow, excel, and…
  • A Letter from Jackie Didio, Executive Director

    August 24, 2020 Susan Keightley
    Dear friends,Since I joined CFNC on February 3, 2020, we have all seen the world change around us. It has been a challenging time, to say the least. We witnessed our schools and businesses closing and going virtual because of a global pandemic, protests across the country due to the abhorrent displays of police brutality, and institutionalized racism ravaging our country. Yet, despite these many challenges, our resilient team has continued to provide caring, high-quality, free preschool and wrap around services to families in Alexandria. It is my greatest honor to lead this team and be a part of this…
  • Back to School: Coping with Worries

    August 19, 2020 Susan Keightley
    Children often experience anxiety around "Back to School." Especially for preschoolers going to "big school," they don't know what to expect. Heading into a new environment with new teachers and classmates - it's enough to make anyone nervous!  In the time of COVID-19, there's even more uncertainty around "Back to School" and anxiety and nerves are high. Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids around concerns, fears, and questions:  Have ongoing conversations: You don't have to have all the answers right now! It's important to have an open dialogue and have ongoing conversations.   Ask questions:…
  • 3 Experiential Learning Activities You Can Do At Home

    August 6, 2020 Susan Keightley
    Children learn through experiencing their world. Things they see, hear, smell, touch, and taste send signals to the brain, which processes the information. Activities that engaged the senses not only help children learn, but they're also fun! Here are some fun learning activities you can do with your preschooler at home: Paint Samples: Grab some free paint sample strips from your local home improvement store and take your preschooler outside to color-match things in nature. You can even bring the items home and draw them for some extra fun. (Don't forget to wear a mask!) Build a fort: Build a fort…
  • Reflection, Commitment, and Doing the Work

    July 14, 2020 Susan Keightley
    CFNC Family, Last month, we shared that we stand united as a community and denounce and are outraged by the police brutality and institutionalized racism that we have witnessed in our country. We said that, as a multi-cultural, multi-racial community, we acknowledge there are many different experiences with racism and we must do better for our students and families to ensure we are not perpetuating racism intentionally or unintentionally. We stated that over the next month, we would prioritize looking internally within our own organization to examine how we can strengthen the work we are doing well around diversity, equity,…
  • CFNC Joins the ALX Promise Program

    July 8, 2020 Susan Keightley
    When we decided to reopen for our Summer Program, safety was our number one priority. We participated in intensive safety training with our staff, and implemented new policies and procedures that would help to protect our staff, students, and families. As part of our dedication to safety and health, we joined the ALX Promise Program - a safety initiative from the City of Alexandria to reduce the spread of COVID-19. By participating in the ALX Promise Program, we have: Completed a consultation with the Alexandria Health Department Completed the Alexandria Health Department's employee training Agreed to follow all future guidance…
  • NIEER Special Report: How Will The COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Pre-K?

    June 30, 2020 Susan Keightley
    The COVID-19 pandemic is already forcing local governments to make budget cuts. Unfortunately, Pre-K programs experience budget cuts that are felt long after the recession or economic downturn is over. To look at some ways that the COVID-19 pandemic could effect Pre-K programs in the U.S., The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) looked back at their data from the Great Recession to look at how early childhood programs would effected. Here were some of their findings: The worst enrollment cuts occurred four years after the Great Recession began More than a decade hasn’t been long enough for 25…
  • We Stand United. Estamos Unidos. ባአንድነት እንቆማለን.

    June 4, 2020 Susan Keightley
    Hello CFNC Family, Hola CFNC Familia, ጤና ይስጥልኝ CFNC ቤተሰብ ة,مرحبا عائلة CFNC We stand united with you. Nosotras estamos unidas contigo. ካንተ ጋር አንድ ሆነናል ፡፡ نحن نقف متحدين معك. We denounce and are outraged by the police brutality and the institutional racism we are witnessing in our country. We also recognize that the issues we have seen occur within the last several weeks have plagued our country since its founding. We stand with our Black teammates, students, families, and community members, and in horror and pain, at the violent and senseless murders of black men and women. We…
  • CFNC and Sevatec Partnership Featured by WJLA

    May 15, 2020 Susan Keightley
    When CFNC implemented its weekly food drive, we knew that our abilities were limited. That's why we partnered with Sevatec and their CEO, Sony Kakar, to provide warm meals to our families who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This past week, CFNC's partnership with Sevatec was featured by WJLA - check out the article written by Jay Korff!
  • CFNC Partners with Amazon to Close the Digital Divide

    May 14, 2020 Susan Keightley
    For people living in poverty, access to the internet and digital tools is a huge obstacle. While certain demographics of society are seeing soaring rates of digital engagement, the growth for those living in poverty is significantly slower. The results of the digital divide are troubling, especially as we start to rely more and more on technology in all areas of our lives, but especially, on education. (Pew Research Center) This idea came to the forefront for CFNC after we closed our physical doors in March. We immediately implemented a virtual learning plan, utilizing ClassDojo as an online learning platform…