Fairfax Futures believes in the importance of ongoing, high quality professional development for early childhood educators. Early childhood educators who continue to strengthen their knowledge and competencies in child development will be well-positioned to partner with families to support children's intellectual, social-emotional and physical development.
The Annual School Readiness Symposium brings early childhood educators together to explore a range of topics related to school readiness. Previous forums have addressed literacy, the arts, play, STEM and nature.
Fairfax Futures collaborates on programs that promote early education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for early childhood professionals. These initiatives have provided learning opportunities and classroom resources to early childhood professionals interested in engaging young children in STEM experiences in their early childhood programs.
With our partners, Fairfax Futures also has created tools for early childhood educators to use to support children's early STEM learning experiences. The publication, Building STEM Connections in Early Childhood, highlights developmentally appropriate STEM-related activities and concepts for educators to use to nurture young children’s passion for discovery. In 2017, the organization also released a series of four short videos that illustrate how educators can use children’s literature and experiences in nature to develop children’s critical thinking and other essential skills that support STEM learning.
In addition to collaborations with Fairfax County Office for Children to provide enriched professional development experiences and resources, Fairfax Futures recognizes the value of mentoring early childhood educators in curriculum implementation, individualized planning and appropriate adult-child interactions. Early childhood educators who are new to the field or who would appreciate more intensive engagement to help build their child development knowledge and competencies may be good candidates for mentoring support and other technical assistance services.
"If we are really serious about addressing and ameliorating the achievement gap, we have to be really serious about quality early childhood programming."
— Dr. Karen Garza, Former Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools