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Virtual Conversation – Building Foundations for Success: Nurturing Growth and Development in Early Childhood

Virtual Conversation – Building Foundations for Success: Nurturing Growth and Development in Early Childhood

Sep 26, 2023 |

12 – 1 PM

Birth to age 5 are critical years in the development of a child. Evidence shows that children who are behind by the time they reach kindergarten will likely remain behind throughout their education.

Join us for a conversation about how to ensure our children are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten and the steps being taken in Norwalk to help parents, screen children, connect families with early intervention, and increase kindergarten readiness. You’ll get actionable tips for supporting your own children and those in your community.

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is a leader in providing social services to our community and is proud to host this virtual conversation with:

Stephanie Croswell 


Growing Seeds Child Development Center

Stephanie Croswell knows first hand the challenges and successes of young learners and their families. In her 24 years of helping families from all backgrounds, Stephanie has helped families and their children navigate all areas of early childhood development. As owner and director of Growing Seeds Child Development Center, Stephanie creates a fun, playful, verbalizing, and engaging experience for her students.

Devoted to early childhood education her entire adult life, Stephanie attended Virginia State University and obtained her directors credential from Norwalk Community College. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Eric, and their three children, Kayla, Brandon, and Erin.

Mary Kate Locke, LCSW

Vice President, Youth and Family Empowerment

Family & Children’s Agency

Mary Kate received a master’s degree in Social Work from SUNY Albany and has over 15 years of child welfare experience.

Mary Kate joined FCA in 2005 and has held progressively senior positions during her tenure at the Agency. She is currently responsible for the overall operations of the Foster Care, Family Support, Child & Family Development, and Adoption programs.

She is also actively involved in community efforts for collective impact and maintains a prominent role within Norwalk ACTS, working to promote the success of children and youth in Norwalk along the cradle to career continuum.

Mary Oster 

Early Childhood Coordinator

City of Norwalk

Mary has been the Early Childhood Coordinator for the City of Norwalk since 2011. 

As the city’s Early Childhood Coordinator, Mary coordinated the creation of the Early Childhood Action Plan for the Norwalk Early Childhood Council. She has helped in the implementation and expansion of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) as a citywide initiative in community, preschools, and home visiting programs throughout Norwalk. 

Mary is a member of the Norwalk ACTS Implementation Team, the PK to K Transition Work Group, the city’s Food Access Task Force, and the Norwalk Early Childhood Collaborative. She is also a member of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Steering Committee. 

A resident of Norwalk, Mary received a master’s degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University.

Moderated by

Robert F. Cashel, LCSW

President & CEO

Family & Children’s Agency

For more than 17 years, Rob has been President & CEO of FCA, where he is responsible for the multi-service human service organization with more than 200 staff. Rob has developed key partnerships in the community while also establishing formal relationships with numerous private and corporate foundations.

Rob, a licensed clinical social worker, is currently on the Board and Executive Committee of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies (CCFSA) and is also on the Board of Norwalk ACTS.

Rob has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University. He is also a certified marriage and family therapist and a certified alcoholism counselor.