This week marks the end of CFNC’s 2017-2018 preschool program, as our 138 students graduate from CFNC to head to kindergarten in the fall. CFNC is a ten-month program, and before starting at CFNC, many of our students have never been inside of a classroom. CFNC’s preschool program helps kids develop the social-emotional, cognitive and motor skills needed for kindergarten. On average, our students show developmental gains almost two levels above general kindergarten readiness based on their assessments. Check back in a few weeks to find out exactly how our kids did this year. (To read last year’s impact report, click here).
To celebrate the culmination of an incredible year of hard work of not only the students, but their families (and their teachers, too!), each CFNC classroom hosted its own graduation ceremony. During graduation, students were presented with their very own certificates signed by their teachers. Though it may seem like small token, the certificates are a symbol of how much they have achieved in just ten months. Just take a look at how proud this student in our Cora Kelly 3 is holding up his picture!
CFNC also prepares “Home Library” bags for each child to take home at the end of the school year. Keeping reading skills sharp is an important step in combatting something called Summer Slide, which happens when kids aren’t exposed to lesson material over the summer. Luckily, with these books that are already class favorites, the recent graduates can keep their skills in tip-top shape for kindergarten. A big thank you to The National Home Library Foundation, who provides the generous funding for the books, allowing each child and their family to add to their home book collection. With their generous funding, CFNC purchased 5 books from First Book for each child: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, and Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale. Another thank you to CareFirst for donating small backpacks for the kids to take home their books. Children also received academic and fun coloring books, crayons generously donated by Senator Adam Ebbin.
A major component of CFNC’s preschool program is family engagement – and graduation is no different. It wouldn’t be a CFNC event if the entire family wasn’t involved. Families came together to provide food, drinks, and decorations for each celebration. As CFNC families are very diverse, so is the food! Many families make homemade traditional dishes, like these chicken taquitos (which were as delicious as they look).
It’s clear from the pictures how proud the parents were – as the kids sang songs like: “We are Stars,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and The Alphabet Song, the paparazzi… we mean… the parents… took tons of videos and pictures.
One of our classrooms even sang “Twinkle Twinkle…” in Spanish and in English.
86% of our students are English Language Learners and 70% of those kids come from Spanish speaking households. When these students came to CFNC in the beginning of the year, they had little to no English skills. To accommodate, CFNC has at least one Spanish-speaking teacher in every classroom, hosting graduation half in English and half in Spanish and making sure that their certificates were also bilingual.
However, learning multiple languages has more than just communication benefits. Learning a second language, specifically early in life when the brain is still learning its first language, can boost academic achievement in reading, writing and math. It also leads to stronger problem-solving and social-emotional skills in the future, like more empathy and tolerance of other cultures. Being proficient in two languages puts CFNC’s students ahead of the curve in being able to communicate with their family and friends.
Speaking of family, they are a big part of the CFNC community, too. CFNC works closely with families over the ten months to make sure their children are getting support in the classroom and at home. “So proud of my son and his teachers, they did an amazing job, and helped my son improve his life,” said a mother of one of our students. Our teachers and staff at CFNC are committed to helping children and families learn and grow over the school year, ensuring that the children are ready for kindergarten with newfound skills and a love for learning, while the parents have everything they need to continue to support their child’s education.
While graduation was a huge success and we’re proud of the accomplishments our students achieved, we’re looking forward to our new summer program! This program is designed for children who might need a little extra help before starting school in the fall. Students will be engaged in summer indoor and outdoor activities, all the while learning and having fun.