December 15, 2020
The end of the year is upon us! And here at Fairfax Futures we are incredibly grateful for all of the hard-working early childhood educators in our community, especially during this challenging year of 2020. The next few weeks we will be reflecting on a number of Fairfax Futures’ initiatives—how we pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic and where we are going next!
In August, Fairfax Futures completed its highly successful STEM Ready Certificate Program. Combining research and real-world classroom experience, the program was taught to 25 early childhood educators. Led by instructors Cecie Boggs and Bronwyn Dean from the Fairfax County Office for Children’s Institute for Early Learning, the course launched in March as a series of in-person classes.
However, after two weeks COVID-19 required switching to an all-virtual format, challenging the instructors to rethink how to present the information and activities in this new environment. “Our STEM course was developed to emphasize the importance of hands-on learning through experimentation. Making the switch to virtual required us to provide STEM kits to participants so that we could continue to work through each experiment together but remotely. We also examined how we presented the information to ensure that our participants really understood the how’s and why’s of each activity,” said Boggs.
The instructors successfully engaged the group of early childhood educators in learning how to apply developmentally appropriate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities in their early childhood classrooms. The teachings and materials were targeted for children ages 3-5. Dean shared, “Even after we switched to the virtual classroom format, our participants were so enthusiastic about all the activities we presented and couldn’t wait to introduce them to the children in their care!”
Fairfax Futures thanks the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation for its generous grant to support the purchase of STEM materials that educators can fully integrate in their early childhood programs. Sallyann Bergh, Fairfax Futures’ Executive Director, shared “Philanthropy from our local business community demonstrates the commitment of leaders to help cultivate the next generation of scientific thinkers.”