Beyond engaging and nurturing young children in its classrooms, EBJ actively promotes awareness, discussion, and informed advocacy of issues that are important in young children’s lives.
* In 2010, EBJ established the Bella Fund to encourage and sustain professional development for its staff. EBJ staff apply to use funds to participate in continuing education and credit courses. Every year since its inception, EBJ’s staff have used the fund to further their education and professional development, which is vital to EBJ’s continuing leadership in this area.
* In 2012, EBJ convened A Celebration of the Picture Book, a two-day conference designed to foster conversation among educators, students, and parents about the importance of reading to and with very young children. Keynote speakers included Rosemary Wells (author and illustrator of Love Waves, Max and Ruby, and Yoko, among many other beloved picture books) and Megan Lambert (Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, Simmons College). We also heard from authors, illustrators, librarians, reviewers, scholars, and teachers on panels addressing the creation and use of picture books, as well as the history and future of picture books in a digital age.
* In 2014, EBJ and the Board sponsored the Go Out and Play! Conference. Inspired by the award-winning documentary film School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten, the conference drew over 100 educators, students, and parents to explore the importance outdoor play for young children’s development. The half-day conference featured a keynote address, panel discussion, and interactive breakout sessions with leading educators, filmmakers, psychologists, pediatricians, environmental designers, and community organizers.