ACTion Non-Profit Spotlight: Child and Family Network Centers

Learn about an organization that gives Alexandria's children a jump-start into education.

Preschool is an integral part of a child’s education. It teaches children the rules of the classroom, basic pre-academic skills and most importantly the social skills necessary to   be successful in kindergarten. In 2006, Alexandria City Public Schools estimated that there are more than 200 children who enter the school system without having gone to preschool. Studies found that those children score 10-26 points lower on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening and are far more likely to be recommended to repeat a year of school or to attend summer school. Children that begin school without the skills they need to be successful often remain behind their peers throughout their school career.  A quality preschool experience is a smart beginning to school.

The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) has been working in Alexandria with at-risk preschool children since 1984. Originally offering only preschool, CFNC has expanded and developed its services over the years. It now not only serves 200 children in Alexandria and Arlington, but also their families; offering health services, job preparation, and other programs. Through the free preschool program, children are introduced to a school environment and taught the basics of pre-Kindergarten education. Most students are not from English-speaking families and CFNC gives them the opportunity to become comfortable with the language they will use throughout their schooling. CFNC was named one of Northern Virginia’s top preschool programs in January 2010.

Families are an important part of CFNC’s mission. With CFNC social workers, parents are able to set short- and long-term goals. These goals are generally to do with English proficiency, home environment, parenting skills, and job eligibility. While many of these improvements will take place over a life-time, English-language classes and other CFNC programs help the families to jump-start careers.

This December CFNC is hosting Tea with Santa at the Morrison House in Alexandria. For adults with children 10 years of age and younger, this story time and tea party (Tea with Mrs. B) is rounded off with a photo with Santa Claus. I spoke with Rachel Moncure, a member of the Planning Committee for the event and she is very excited about this year’s event. She is hopeful that CFNC will raise money to continue its current programs. CFNC is trying to raise money to maintain their current health service offerings and to stay in the same location despite rising costs. The event is an important one for CFNC. To purchase tickets or sponsor the event please visit:


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