Welcome! Parents, caregivers and early childhood educators have a wealth of resources available to them online, but it can be overwhelming to sort through and find what is well researched and actually helpful.
As part of a class for my Associates Degree at Northern Virginia Community College, I was tasked with creating a parent information website. As I gathered together all of the materials, I realized that these resources would be helpful not just for my class, but also for the families in my school and those I work with on wider museum and education projects!
My hope is that this page can be a “one stop shop” to help you find information and answers to some of your questions. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or leave comments and I will try to add resources that you are looking for.
Curious about me? You can read more about my background here and get links to other things I’ve published! I teach at FB Meekins Cooperative Preschool,which is play-based and serves children from 2 years old through Pre-K. It is in a suburb of Washington, D.C. which means we have a wonderful community of learners and families with lots of different backgrounds.
I am also a museum educator and committed to helping museums and young learners connect in meaningful ways. I blog about museums, early childhood education and related topics on my main Cabinet of Curiosities page.
Children develop at their own pace and in their own way, but it can be helpful to know what pediatricians and other experts look for at different ages. This will give you a sense of where your child is headed and when to bring up concerns to your doctor or other caregivers
- 2 years old
- 3 years old
- 4 years old
- 5 years old
- VA Building Blocks/Learning Standards
- This site is specific to Virginia and has information on early childhood education including curriculum review and links to the learning standards (VA Foundation Blocks for Early Learners). I
- Kindergarten Readiness
- Also Virginia specific, this explains what the state looks for in kindergarten ready children, families, schools and communities
- Transitions to Kindergarten
- Looking ahead to the transition to Kindergarten? The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has some tips and tricks for the transition
Fairfax County Resources
Although these resources are specific to Fairfax County, there are similar organizations available in every area of the United States.
- Child Find
- Organization that helps connect children with disabilities with special education services. They provide evaluation and access to resources for families.
- Parent Resource Center
- A huge library of books, videos, workshops and more that anyone in Fairfax County can access. Wide range of books on children, school, special education etc.
- Department of Family Services
- Oversees programs related to the well-being of children and families. Lots of resources and community connections.
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- County website for the school system. Can link you to neighborhood schools, special education services, early childhood resources and more
Early Childhood Education Resources
Bookmark these sites as a place to go for resources, articles and tips on a variety of early childhood education topics
- Positive Parenting Tips
- Presented by the Center for Disease Control
- Zero to Three
- A professional organization that focuses on children 0-3 and their families. Lots of resources including some specifically for military families
- Teaching Tolerance
- Although much of their material is for older children, they do address young children and are an important voice in teaching equality and tolerance
- Dr. Rene Hackney
- Popular speaker in the Northern Virginia area. Has insights on everything from toilet training to disruptive behavior.
- PBS Parenting Resources
- From the trusted source of children’s TV shows. PBS provides articles, videos, family resources and more on a wide range of topics.
- Project Zero
- Based out of Harvard, Project Zero conducts research in the arts as well as investigating the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thinking, and ethics.
- Fred Rogers Company
- “Look for the helpers” Mr. Rogers always told us, and the Fred Rogers Company lives up to that by providing helpful videos, articles and guidance for caregivers on everyday topics like getting a haircut as well as grief and other traumas
If you have or are working with children with special needs, you deserve resources that help you support them to the best of your ability. This is just a a very basic list of some of the topics that you might come across.
Developing social and emotional skills is a key component of early childhood. This lets children make and keep friends, set goals, engage in groups. Social-emotional development looks different at different ages. Since I primarily work with 3-5 year olds there are some re-occuring “themes” that we are constantly working on and I’ve included links for those below.
- Ages and Stages: How Children Build Friendships
- The Laws of Friendship
- Supporting Preschoolers Positive Peer Relationships
- The Importance of Childhood Friendship And How to Nurture Them
- Making Friends
- Easing First Day Jitters: Strategies for Successful Home-to-School Transition
- Using Social Stories to Ease Children’s Transitions
- 13 Tips for Starting Preschool
- Transitions (Bank Street College)
- Helping Preschoolers Cope with Separation Anxiety
- Planning Transitions to Prevent Challenging Behavior
In this case, “literacy” includes reading and writing. In preschool, my focus is on getting children excited about reading and explore how writing can help them share their ideas. To do this, it is critical that you have a diverse set of books available, make time for reading aloud and that you follow their lead for reading and writing
- Read aloud tips
- Fairfax County Public Library
- Learning to Write and Draw(Stages)
- Five Ways to Raise a Reader…Starting from Birth
Like literacy, math does not look like worksheets and memorization in early childhood. Instead, you are helping them understand where math fits into their world and get comfortable with the vocabulary and concepts. Although the last article says it is about infants/toddlers it is a good read on how math can be woven into the day
Children are natural scientists, ready to explore and observe and share their findings. It is our job to encourage that, embrace the mess that comes with it and help them get a good foundation for later science inquiry
- Science Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarten
- National Science Teachers Association: Early Years Blog
- NSTA Position Statement: Early Childhood Science Education
- Foundations of Early Childhood Science Learning
One of the things I love about the school I work at is how often we take the children on field trips. At least once a month we are out in the community visiting farms, florists, fire stations and museums. Although field trips can be daunting to plan, they are so worth it. Not only do the children see how their community works and where they fit in, but the community can also learn more about your children and school! It really does bring learning to life.