A new day care is preparing to open in Reston.
A franchise for Celebree School, which features digital reports for each child daily and helps prepare kids for kindergarten, is slated to open at a low-rise office building at 11109 Sunset Hills Road, Unit 150 near Wiehle Avenue.
“We researched different schools and it was a no-brainer that Celebree was the right choice for us,” franchisee Josephine Kibe-Johnson said in an email.
The schools’ curriculum strives to incorporate not just academic needs but emotional, physical and social factors, too. It’ll serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children.
“We were amazed with the creative curriculum that is followed at Celebree that offers tailored lessons to meet the unique needs of children; curriculum that is comprehensive, based on research and [provides] developmentally appropriate content for children with different skills and [backgrounds],” Kibe-Johnson also wrote.
The business is currently looking to hire a director and an assistant director and teachers for the school’s different age groups.
It comes as childcare challenges during the pandemic caused centers to close and left many looking to fill positions and retain workers.
According to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which surveyed providers in the industry in part of June and July, more than one in every three respondents said they were considering “leaving or shutting down their child care programs this year, and over half of minority-owned programs are reckoning with the possibility of permanent closure.”
In Virginia, many day cares reported having staffing shortages, serving fewer children, having a longer waitlist than usual and having reduced their operating hours, the association’s survey found.
Federal COVID-19 relief money has gone to governments, parents and child care centers, and Fairfax County aid has sought to use its portion of that money to keep day cares open. County staff noted in July that child care programs could close at a time when more parents are returning to work.
For Kibe-Johnson, she said her business could be part of helping address a shortage in childcare services.
“We believe that we are part of the solution of helping parents, especially women, go back to work, by providing quality childcare services for their children,” she wrote.
A groundbreaking event at the proposed location is slated for 11 a.m. this Tuesday (Nov. 9), where community members are able to attend for refreshments, activities and more.
The day care is projected to open in the first quarter of 2022.
Photo via Google Maps
House of Delegates candidates answered questions on a range of issues that they could face in Richmond, giving voters a firsthand look at their viewpoints.
The nonprofit Cornerstones hosted the forum online with 36th District candidates Matt Lang, a Republican security consultant and veteran, and incumbent Ken Plum, a Democrat who has held the office since 1982.
For the 86th District race, the forum also featured candidates Julie Perry, a Republican high school history teacher, and Irene Shin, who won the Democratic Primary in June to take the nomination away from incumbent Ibraheem Samirah.
Candidates fielded questions from panelists and the audience in the hourlong event. A recording of the forum was slated to be posted on Cornerstones’ website.
Extending child care subsidy
Panelist Nasia Ashkir noted a federal subsidy for child care will end in December, and she asked if candidates would support extending it with leftover American Relief Act Money.
Plum shared his support for doing so and noted that he wrote about the issue for a column this month. He cited research showing how kids who received pre-school education have been linked to less societal costs, mainly in the area of crime.
Lang also said he’s support such an extension and would want to look for how to fund it once the federal aid runs out in ways that don’t raise taxes.
“Like Del. Plum just said, children are the future,” the Reston resident said. “Their education and their foundation is going to be our success down the road.”
Addressing affordable housing
Pastor Stephen Smith-Cobbs, who served as the forum’s second panelist, noted how $4.3 billion in flexible funding is available through ARPA but hasn’t been spent so far in affordable housing.
“Many people who work in Fairfax County simply can’t afford to live here,” Smith-Cobbs said, asking what candidates’ plans were for increasing the stock in affordable housing.
Both Republican candidates noted concerns with long-term assistance.
“If we help them forever, they’re never going to have the incentive to want to try their best and shine in society,” Perry said, adding that everybody can live the American dream.
Shin, the executive director of the nonprofit Virginia Civic Engagement Table, which looks to support progressive organizations, said she would support fully funding the Virginia Housing Trust, saying it incentivizes developers to make affordable housing.
Lang also said that increasing the supply of rental units or homes could help reduce the sales of existing homes, and lowering prices of other things, such as fuel taxes, would help put more money in people’s pockets.
His opponent said Cornerstones serves as a model for how to go forward by providing comprehensive services, such as child care and job training. Plum also said he expects the governor’s upcoming budget proposal to increase affordable housing investments, such as by working with organizations, setting up land conservation trusts and pursuing other efforts to leverage public money.
After a hiatus due to pandemic-related school closures, Fairfax County is not only reviving its School Age Child Care (SACC) program, but expanding it with two new locations, both of them in Herndon.
With Fairfax County Public Schools planning for five days of in-person learning starting Aug. 23, the county-run child care program will be available at 142 schools, including new centers at Clearview and McNair Upper elementary schools, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay announced yesterday (Thursday).
“We hope to quell some anxiety today and give our working parents in particular confidence knowing that the Fairfax County government and our Fairfax County Public Schools have worked very closely together over many months to ensure that our kids can return to school and return to our SACC program,” McKay said.
SACC provides before and after-school care for children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Run by the Fairfax County Office for Children, the program operates out of public elementary schools as well as the Key and Kilmer centers, which focus on youth aged 5-21 with multiple disabilities.
As a result, when FCPS initially closed school doors as COVID-19 spread in March 2020, SACC centers were shuttered as well, leaving many families to juggle full-time work and a bumpy introduction to virtual learning on their own.
The county resumed offering some child care services in the summer of 2020 with its Camp Fairfax program, which serves first through seventh graders. The day-long camps were held in school buildings with social distancing and other health measures in place.
When FCPS opted for an all-virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year, the county launched a new Supporting Return to School (SRS) program that essentially functioned like a full-day version of SACC, providing care before and after school hours along with distance learning support.
According to McKay, the Camp Fairfax and SRS sites were chosen based on where the need for child care services was greatest, focusing on children whose parents were unable to stay at home with them or who otherwise lacked structured support during the day.
Just over 1,000 children have enrolled in Camp Fairfax, which returned this summer with smaller sites, Office of Children Director Anne-Marie Twohie said at yesterday’s news conference, which was held at one such site in Centreville’s London Towne Elementary School.
In comparison, the program typically drew over 4,000 children before the pandemic.
McKay says the Camp Fairfax and SRS programs helped the county understand how child care could be provided safely, experience that will be crucial when the full-scale SACC program starts next month.
“The need for high-quality school-age child care has indeed never been greater, and the extended site availability this year will help meet these needs,” said Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky, who represents the Sully District.
Twohie says SACC rooms are generally added in conjunction with elementary school construction and renovation projects.
Work on both McNair Upper (2410 Fox Mill Road) — a new building intended to relieve crowding at McNair Elementary School — and renovations at Clearview (12635 Builders Road) is nearing completion.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, McKay and Pekarsky stressed the importance of vaccinations for everyone who is eligible in ensuring that schools and SACC can fully open on Aug. 23 as planned.
“We are continuing to build toward normalcy, full school days, full SACC programs, the freedoms that we’ve enjoyed over the last several months,” McKay said. “We have to, as a community, roll up our sleeves, get to those remaining people who aren’t vaccinated, get them vaccinated so we can continue down the right path in Fairfax County.”
While FCPS isn’t requiring vaccinations for students or staff, the school system said earlier this week that everyone must wear face masks when students are inside school buildings, regardless of their vaccination status.
Noting that at least 90% of teachers and staff are vaccinated, Pekarsky suggested that FCPS could follow the county government’s lead in potentially instituting a vaccine mandate for its employees at some point.
“We are continuing to offer our teachers the opportunity to get vaccinated,” she said. “We will collaborate with county government to explore if we will make them mandatory sometime in the future, but right now, they are not.”