Families Matter in Early Childhood

Families are their child’s first and most important teacher.

Families provide steady and supportive relationships, ensure safe and consistent environments, promote good health, and foster curiosity and excitement about learning. Many resources are available in Fairfax County and beyond to support families as their children become ready for school.

Advocating for Your Child From the Beginning

Children are capable of amazing intellectual development during the first years of their life. Mainly, they learn by watching what their parents or guardians and siblings do. Almost anything your family does together is a learning opportunity for your child. Read a book, in any language to encourage an interest in reading, especially when you ask your child questions about the story. Discuss normal activities, such as a trip to the store, to increase his or her language skills.

Advocating at home:

  • Build awareness:
    • Create an interesting and stimulating environment.
    • Introduce your child to new objects, people, and events.
    • Respond to your child’s interests and share experiences.
    • Show interest and enthusiasm when talking with your child.
  • Encourage exploration:
    • Encourage your child to explore different things.
    • Extend play into a learning opportunity.
    • Describe your child’s activities as he or she does them.
    • Use open-ended questions, such as, “What else could you do?”
  • Ask and answer questions:
    • Help your child think through questions and develop possible answers.
    • Give your child information when asked.
    • Help your child connect ideas.
    • Allow time for your child to ask or answer a series of questions

Resources for Families