Investing in School Readiness
What's New

What's New

Fairfax County Reaffirms Commitment to School Readiness

Fairfax County recently reaffirmed its deep commitment to school readiness for all children in the County, regardless of economic, cultural or ethnic background, by adopting the Equitable School Readiness Strategic Plan. The six-year plan includes five core strategies for implementation by 2022:

* Partnerships with families
* High quality experiences for all children
* Well-prepared professional educators
* Using data to make decisions

Virginia Children Benefit from CHIP Funding Renewal

Congress funded the federal Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six additional years as part of the continuing resolution passed in January. Voices for Virginia’s Children reports that the funding means that 69,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women in Virginia will continue to have access to health care through the state’s FAMIS (Family Access to…

2017 - A Banner Year for Fairfax Futures

Fairfax Futures’ newly-released Annual Report includes highlights of early childhood STEM initiatives in 2017 that engaged young children, educators and families in hands-on learning experiences.  Early childhood educators gained new knowledge and competencies, in addition to needed resources, that helped enrich the quality of STEM learning experiences they provided to the young children in their programs.

Fairfax Futures held its 13th Annual School Readiness Symposium and worked in collaboration with Fairfax County Office for Children…

Fairfax Futures’ 2nd Annual Business Leaders’ Reception

On November 9, 2017, Fairfax Futures held its Second Annual Business Leaders’ Reception, hosted by Holland & Knight and co-sponsored by PenFed Credit Union. Fairfax Futures’ Board Chair Cathy Lange welcomed guests and talked about Fairfax Futures’ ongoing efforts to support young children’s school readiness, in part by increasing the knowledge and competencies of early childhood educators across Fairfax County.

Presenters included Mr. Chuck Mills, CEO and Founder of Salera Capital Management, and Dr. Kartik Athreya, executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mills, who formerly served…

STEM Nights Promote Family Engagement

As a follow-on to the STEM Ready Project, which provided professional development in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to a group of early childhood educators, five of the participating early childhood programs held a Family STEM Night this fall. The goal was to engage families in some of the same STEM experiences that the educators have offered to their young children. The participating centers included: ACCA Child Development Center, Kidstretch, UCM Early Learning Center, Al Fatih Academy and St. Paul's Lutheran Preschool.

One hundred families participated in the Family STEM Nights, which were made possible through…

New Video Series on STEM Experiences for Young Children

Fairfax Futures is pleased to share four short videos highlighting developmentally appropriate ways to introduce STEM experiences in early childhood settings. STEM refers to education in science, technology, engineering and math. The videos were made possible by a grant from The Boeing Company and with support from Dominion Energy.

Each of the videos incorporates children’s literature and related hands-on activities to allow children to develop their language, fine and gross motor skills, as well as critical thinking, prediction and problem solving skills. All three were filmed in Fairfax County at local child development centers…

Deanna Doan Joins Fairfax Futures' Board

Deanna Doan, co-founder and managing partner at Eleccion LLC in Herndon, VA., has joined Fairfax Futures’ Board of Directors. Ms. Doan brings 20 years of leadership and expertise in program management and organizational improvement to the board.  Before founding a management consulting company, Ms. Doan was Vice President, National Security, at Allegheny Science & Technology in Tysons Corner, VA. She holds a BS in industrial systems engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an MS in operations research from George Mason University. Among other boards and memberships, Ms. Doan has chaired the Fairfax County Public…

Early Childhood Educators Connect with STEM

The STEM Ready program – which introduces early childhood professionals to developmentally appropriate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities that they can incorporate in their early childhood environments -- is the subject of a new video.

Created through a partnership between Fairfax Futures and Fairfax County Office for Children, the STEM Ready program brought together 37 early childhood educators who spent nine weeks engaged in activities designed to foster children’s natural…

Workshop Focuses on Literacy and Life Skills for Young Children

first workshop class

Participants in the first workshop on using literacy to help young children develop life skills.
The workshop was repeated for a second class.


Thanks to a grant from Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation, 72 early childhood educators have participated in a workshop on using literacy to help young children develop and practice life skills. Workshop attendees increased their understanding of children’s emerging executive function skills and early brain development.…

Equality of Educational Opportunity Begins in Preschool

US News weighs in on a topic garnering much media attention of late: the fact that upper middle income families spend far more on educational opportunities for their children compared to lower…

STEM Kits for Early Childhood Classrooms

In partnership with Dominion Energy, Fairfax Futures recently delivered STEM education classroom kits to educators who completed a nine-week course on incorporating STEM concepts and experiences into their early childhood programs. The kits contain developmentally appropriate books, building materials and magnification stations that can be used to encourage young children’s natural curiosity, discovery and exploration.

Dominion Energy is also supporting development of an environmental science video to be produced by The Teaching Channel. The video will share ways that families and early childhood educators can introduce young children…

A Two-Generation Approach to Workforce Development

As the U. S. faces a growing shortage of highly skilled workers, a new report makes the case that the role that quality child care plays in the education and workforce pipeline has been overlooked. The report, Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce calls high-quality child care a “two generation approach” to workforce development. Quality child care helps young parents advance their education, raises workforce participation…

STEM in Early Education – Play’s the Thing

What does a STEM-focused early childhood classroom look like? Forget memorization and scripted science experiments. In fact, you might be surprised to know that play plays a prominent role. Brain research has shown that play is an important evolutionary strategy for both animals and humans. And playful, hands-on exploration is the foundation for STEM learning as this article, Through Observation and Play, Toddlers Take on Science, points out.

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…

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