Spring is in the air!

With the short days and rainy weather of winter, our kids weren’t the only ones begging to get out. We tend to go to work shortly after sunrise and it’s usually “dark o’clock” by the time we get home. Our family time during the week is often limited to indoor lighting until the weekend comes and weather permitting, we can try to get outside and enjoy a little daylight as a family. As parents, we know that our children are watching everything that we do, so we try to make the best of it, but even the best of parents can find themselves experiencing the “winter blues” that can accompany the decrease in serotonin and vitamin D3 levels that happens during these shorter days.

While we still have some rain in the forecasts, it’s important to make the time for a little sunshine as much as you can. Just be sure to remember the sunscreen even when it seems cloudy out.

Here are a few ideas of outdoor fun things for families with young children here in the Bay Area:

  1. Enjoy a family walk or bike ride and explore your neighborhood together. Try and find something new that you hadn’t noticed before!
  •  Enjoy a garden, even if it’s not yours! The Bay Area has several garden attractions that will leave you and your children in awe of nature!
  • Take a hike to one of these kid friendly hiking areas that allow the family to get out and get a little exercise without traveling too far from home!
  • Get your hands dirty amidst a naturally beautiful shoreline at Crab Cove Beach!

Even on rainy days, don’t let the weather keep you down as the Bay Area offers exciting ways to enjoy the rain together as families!

My new office window [view] at FranDelJA Enrichment Center.

Leaving behind the old Candlestick park empty lot view, for this much busier one.

Thank God for a new building fitted with indoor heat in my office (my old heater competed with the classroom heaters, and blew cold air when the kids needed heat in the rooms), distance from my office to the bathrooms (so I will no longer hear flushes all day long), and for the opportunity to continue to create with children.

I am looking forward to the love and never-ending hope and faith in our next generation that keeps me watching them grow, being led by their thoughts, and helping them overcome challenges to build their resilience and become a part of their community.

God has the wheel and is the best leader!

Happy New Year everyone! May you all be safe, healthy, and happy!

Dianne A.
FranDelJA Site Supervisor – Programs


Last night my daughter asked me which was my favorite holiday? I told her it was Thanksgiving through the New Year! This time of the year offers us a chance to celebrate, a chance to be thankful, a chance to be generous and a chance to renew! What more could you ask for?

Last week, we moved out of FranDelJA’s birthplace. It was a difficult task on every level. We have so many memories there to take with us. Life is like that sometimes, where we  find ourselves in situations where we must choose to face that which is difficult and make the most of it. That’s exactly what our team did! Together, everyone rose to the occasion and successfully moved and set up the classrooms. They were absolutely amazing!

We opened our joined venture on Monday which came with tricky challenges of its own: unhappy families, challenging behaviors, sick co-workers, a phone system we still need to learn, lots of rain, and more. From my perspective, each person navigated with courage and grace. As I walked through the hall on Monday, I saw children and adults engaged and happy (almost all of them). We have divided the infants into the Caterpillar Room for younger infants, and the Cricket Room for older infants. The toddlers have also been separated by age, where the younger toddlers are now in the Ladybug Room and the older toddlers are in the Butterfly Room. Our preschoolers are in the Dragonfly Room. Being able to offer five teachers per classroom will make breaks and sick time easier on the staff, and it awards us the opportunity to offer a little extra help with the children’s individual age-appropriate milestones. While there will still be challenges that we will have to face in the days and weeks ahead, this season does have its benefits, let’s finish the year FranDelJA style, holding hands as we go through it together, and even if it rains, we dance! There’s no other team that I’d rather dance with!

Merry Christmas to our FranDelJA team and all the children/families that make it all worth it!

Tracy List,
Executive Director

Dear Families and Staff,

I love the changes that autumn brings. The transition to cooler temperatures and reduction in sunlight with shorter days takes a little getting used to, but its beauty remains unmatched by any other season! In our area, we can see trees in various stages all season, it can even seem chaotic. In preparation of the coming cold, most trees stop sending energy to their leaves and the leaves change from shades of green to glorious shades of red, orange, and yellow. It’s a majestic time of transition in preparation of what’s to come, as for most tree species this season of transition needs to happen for it to survive the winter and successfully bloom in the spring!

We have so much on the horizon. We’re coming upon our season of transition – it will have its challenges, but it comes with a promise as we get ready to bloom! At FranDelJA we work hard to create a place that feels safe and familiar, but like home, especially throughout times of transition like we are having now. As we do every season, we will continue to work together to give our children the very best care and help one another through the transition!

We have so much to be thankful for this season! We have made it through so many challenges together – and we’re still here serving the children and families that we love so much! I’m grateful to have you all as part of our team, and for the families that we call family! I’m thankful that we have a center that will allow us to continue to care for each and every one of those children in our FranDelJA family! Like the trees put on a beautiful display as they say goodbye to the leaves of the past, we too will transition with grace and gratitude for what’s to come!

Over the next few days, I hope you find time to relax, reflect, and enjoy those that are important in your life. 

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,
Tracy List, Executive Director

Happy Fall and happy fall back!

The fall back time change is my personal favorite as we get an extra hour of sleep, but then the reality hits.

Time change can be hard on all of us, but it can be especially hard on young children. 

Here are four tips to help make the transition a little easier for the entire family:

  1. First, it is suddenly dark so much earlier. Children can become confused and even anxious when it’s dark already and they are still at school. “Last week we played until 5:00, but now the sun is setting.”

  2. It takes a few days for our bodies to adjust to a new sleep pattern. Children may not feel sleepy at the regular bed time.

  3. These changes to our bodies routines are not just hard on young children, but the entire family. Take it easy this week and give grace for the struggle of the adjustment.

  4. Take deep breaths and practice good self care for yourself and your little ones.

Tracy List
Executive Director
FranDelJA Enrichment Center

Tracy List, Executive Director and Rosanna, FranDelJA Graduate

Originally, twenty years ago, when I started working at FranDelJA, I was planning on working here for two months. (That was in July 2002.) I saw something back then that felt tangible – something that I could put my hands to, like rich soil for a gardener. There were inherent strengths in the dream that Sandra and Gladys had. What they wanted to bring to the community was valuable! Gladys kept giving me new jobs to do, to bring my strengths to the organization, and I was humbled as I began to realize there was room for me to contribute to the dream that would serve so many families.

FranDelJA is such a great place for children and their families! The world has changed a lot from when all of us started in this business. Some of our staff is new (so this is what you know), but for some of our teachers, site supervisors and me, the world has changed, and we have done everything that we can to change with it, to keep kids safe, to keep kids protected, to keep kids having a joy of learning. Group care is hard. It’s hard to let someone take care of your children and having a safe place for parents learning to advocate for their families is challenging, and it can feel “yucky” sometimes. I don’t think it’s intuitive, at least it hasn’t been for me. My daughter was with me at FranDelJA for five years until she graduated from preschool (well until Covid and we had to do drive-by graduations). Things were not as I expected after all these years of working with kids and families, but as I sent her off to public school, I wasn’t even allowed on the premises (because of Covid), and it was hard not knowing what was happening during her day. I couldn’t just drop-in and check on her. Our families feel that every day, as they trust us with their children. We need to be worthy of that trust!

We need to be the very best we can be! We need to be open to learn from each other. We need to listen to our site supervisors when they give input, with the knowledge and appreciation for the skills they have obtained in their years of service. That’s what we want for FranDelJA! A place that feels like family, because that’s what FranDelJA was founded on – sisters who wanted to do something great for their community. It’s made from the names of children – of Sandra’s children, of Gladys’ nieces and nephew. It’s family and we want to love like family and be as professional and skilled as we can be in this field.

We want FranDelJA to always be a place where children know what the boundaries are, but have an environment that is safe and warm, inviting, and rich with learning opportunities. A place where children can make mistakes and learn from those mistakes, where they can run and jump, and play, and take risks, and feel comfortable, safe, and confident. We want a place where teachers reach out to them and check on them to see if they’re okay. A place where teachers initiate conversation because then they’ll know how to initiate conversation; where teachers start play because then they’ll learn how to start play. Where teachers model language and appreciation for diversity, so that they will have language and appreciation for diversity. A place where teachers are creative and fun, so that the children can feel free to express their creativity and have fun! A place where teachers read and write and make literacy visible, so that children have an understanding and a comprehension of literacy. A place where there are words, letters, pictures, and things that children recognize on the walls; where there is a schedule that enables the children to predict and know what’s going to happen next, where they feel welcomed every single day. It is no small task, but it is the challenge before us as we continue to strive and support families in the challenging season before us!

FranDelJA was founded by two sisters and named after the children that they loved most in life,
so in its most simple definition, FranDelJA means family!

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where there are words, letters, pictures, and things that children recognize on the walls; where there is a schedule that enables the children to predict and know what’s going to happen next, where they feel welcomed every single day.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where children know what the boundaries are, but have a safe, warm, and inviting environment where they’re not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place rich with learning opportunities for children to explore and discover all that they were created to be.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where children can run, jump, dance, and play robustly, and feel comfortable, safe, and confident in doing so.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where teachers are creative and fun, so that the children can feel free to express their creativity and have fun!

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where teachers initiate conversation because then the children will grow in confidence to initiate conversations for themselves.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where teachers “start play” because then the children will learn how to “start play.”

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where teachers read and write and make literacy visible, so that children have an understanding and a comprehension of literacy.

The FranDelJA that I see is a place where teachers model language and appreciation for diversity, so that they will have language and appreciation for diversity.

The FranDelJA that I see is filled with caring teachers that reach out to the children and check on them to see if they’re okay, because it’s okay to not always be okay, but it helps to have someone to talk about it with.

It is no small task, but it is the challenge before us as we continue to strive and support families in the challenging season before us!