Investing in School Readiness
What's New

What's New

Cox Charities Awards Grant to Fairfax Futures

Cox Charities has selected Fairfax Futures as one of five Northern Virginia grant recipients. With support from Cox Charities, Fairfax Futures will work in collaboration with the Fairfax County Office for Children to engage families with young children in early childhood STEM education experiences. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.) Fairfax Futures will bring its STEM program to five early childhood education programs in the county over the next year.

Penny Peng Joins Fairfax Futures Board

Penny Peng, who serves as Vice President, Finance Forecasting and Planning at PenFed Credit Union, has joined the Board of Directors of Fairfax Futures. Ms. Peng holds an MBA in Finance and an MS in Information Systems from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She was appointed Treasurer of the Board.

Recognizing Active Engagement in Learning

Most of us have observed the sheer absorption that children – and adults – are capable of when using electronic devices. But does this engagement guarantee learning? Professor James Almarode at James Madison University says engaged learning is more than quiet compliance.  In classroom visits, he looks for eight difference characteristics of student engagement that lead to learning. Learn more in How to Ensure Students are Actively Engaged and Not Just Compliant on KQED News.

Developing Mindsets for Compassion and Caring

Dr. Robert Brooks, author of the book Raising Resilient Children, is a strong advocate for the role of caring adults in the lives of children. Even the smallest gestures of kindness, dignity and respect for students – a smile and calling them by name at the door – help create an environment in which all students feel welcomed and accepted. Learn more about the lessons Brooks draws from his research on resilience in How…

Grant Aims to Boost Skills And Improve School Readiness

Fairfax Futures has received a grant from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation Early Care and Education Collaborative to develop a model program to increase the knowledge and competencies of family child care professionals and enhance the school readiness skills of the three- and four-year-old children in their care.

The program will be implemented with Fairfax County Office for Children and will be modeled after the Virginia Preschool Initiative mixed-delivery approach, serving young children from families with low to moderate incomes who are not enrolled in Head Start.

Through this project, participating family child…

How the Power of Interest Drives Learning

It may seem obvious that it is easier to learn things that are of interest to us. But decoding the role of interest in learning – what it is, how it develops and how to cultivate it in ourselves and in others – is taking on new importance in the science of learning. Research shows that interest can be a powerful predictor of students’ future choices. We think you’ll find this article about the power of interest in learning,…

A National STEM Agenda for Preschool

Achieving the goal of universal access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate STEM education  for preschool children will require a national agenda. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.) That is the conclusion of an Early Childhood STEM Working Group. Their new report, Early STEM Matters: Providing High-Quality STEM Experiences for All Young Learners, lays out the the rationale for promoting STEM in preschool and makes recommendations for policy, research…

Child Care Scarcity Impacts Working Families

For new parents, finding quality, affordable childcare can be daunting, according to this report from NPR. Infant care is in particularly short supply and there are often long waiting lists for available slots. A zip code analysis in eight states, including Virginia, even reveals “child care deserts,” or areas with disproportionately few child care centers.  Read Child Care Scarcity Has Very Real Consequences For Working Families or listen online using the link at right.

Fairfax Futures Receives Grant from Boeing for STEM Education

Funding to Help Educators Integrate STEM Learning Into Early Childhood Programs in Fairfax County.

Fairfax Futures is pleased to announce that it has received a $50,000 grant from The Boeing Company to support the integration of developmentally-appropriate STEM experiences into in early childhood settings. STEM refers to education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Fairfax Futures will work in partnership with Fairfax County Office for Children to offer a 18-hour certificate course designed to strengthen the STEM skills and competencies of a cohort of early childhood educators. This…

Support Fairfax Futures

Your donation will help us raise awareness, foster collaboration, and build programs in support of quality early childhood education and school readiness in Fairfax County.

 

Building STEM Connections in Early Childhood

A new booklet from Fairfax Futures describes the benefits of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for young children and offers developmentally appropriate experiences to ignite the curiosity and problem solving abilities of young children.

Building STEM Connections in Early Childhood offers sample activities built around everyday interaction with young children at home, with friends, outdoors, or in an early childhood education setting. By sharing the child’s sense of wonder, acting as a play partner and exploring together, caregivers can help…

Fairfax Futures Hosts Annual Business Leaders Reception

Fairfax County business leaders representing a variety of IT companies and other industries attended Fairfax Futures’ Annual Business Leaders Reception this month at the home of Fairfax Futures Board Member and CEO of Sevatec, Balan Ayyar. Special guests included U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.

Connolly, a long-time advocate of early childhood education, said, “It is never too early to start building the next generation of STEM leaders.” Comparing investing in STEM to beginning the space program after Sputnik, Connolly said, “STEM is a critical investment the U.S. must make.”

Fairfax…

Michele Duell Is Newest Fairfax Futures Board Member

Ms. Michele Duell joined the Fairfax Futures Board of Directors this month. She is the founder of Process Point Consulting and has more than 30 years of experience in cyber security, enterprise systems development, and IT program management.

Ms. Duell studied education and computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. A long-time resident of Springfield, Va., Michele also serves on the board of the Friends of Richard Byrd Library and the NOVA Awesome Foundation, and was the Vice President of the Springfield Civic Association.

Fairfax Futures’ Executive Director Vera Steiner Blore said, “As a business owner who also has…

Math = Fun in Pre-K

Early childhood educators are encouraged to be creative when introducing basic math concepts into their curriculum. Watch this PBS report Counting the Benefits of Teaching Math to 3-Year Olds to see how a puppet named Mr. Mix-Up is helping a group of 3-year-olds jump into math learning.

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Linda Odorisio Joins Board

Ms. Linda Odorisio has joined the Fairfax Futures Board of Directors. She is the Vice President of Global Communications for CGI, an IT consulting and business processing services firm, where she is the point person for strategic and crisis communications, media and public relation, and events and marketing communications. She oversees a team of more than 50 people around the world.

Ms. Odorisio received her undergraduate degree from Franklin and Marshall College and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She is a long-time Fairfax County resident and currently resides with her family in…

Supporting Infant Brain Development

Infant brains develop at a very rapid pace – more than 700 neural connections are formed every second during a child’s first 1,000 days. Many parents underestimate the extent to which young babies are affected by what’s going on around them. US News reports on research sponsored by Zero to Three and the Bezos Family Foundation showing that the majority of parents of young children want to know more about how they can support their children's early development. One family-friendly…

'Getting Ready for Kindergarten' Launches

With generous contributions from Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation and Wells Fargo, Fairfax Futures has established a new initiative to improve school readiness. Getting Ready for Kindergarten focuses on supporting local family child care providers who are caring for rising kindergarteners. On Saturday, June 18,  the providers attended a workshop at which they practiced strategies that teach young children to take turns, ask questions, and cooperate with others. Over the course of the summer, these early childhood professionals will continue to partner with families to support children's smooth transition to kindergarten. Getting…

Ten Ideas for Exploring Nature

As summer begins opportunities abound for children to be outside. Here are ten family-friendly suggestions for engaging young children in outdoor activities.  You won’t need any fancy equipment, just a willingness to see the world with a child’s natural curiosity. How many of them can you complete this summer? 

STEM: Ask ‘What’ Not ‘Why’

Early educators who encourage children to explore the natural world provide their students with an important foundation for learning about STEM – that is, science, technology, engineering and math. One way to do this in the preschool classroom is through collections and exhibitions. Inspired by Museums-Both Outside and Inside the Classroom, suggests that collecting and displaying objects according…

White House Pushes Joint Focus on STEM and Early Education

Two top priorities of the current Administration, early childhood education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), received joint attention recently at the first-ever early learning and STEM Learning Symposium at the White House. The Secretary of Education announced five goals, which include identifying best practices and fostering formal and informal, family-centered opportunities for young children to develop the vocabulary and background knowledge they need to excel in STEM-related fields. More than 200 public and private initiatives were also announced at the symposium. 

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