ECSTEM Conference Comes To Orange County for Second Year to Increase Awareness of the Importance of Early Education

Jan 16, 2015 | Newsroom

Children and Families Commission of Orange County, The Children’s Center at Caltech and THINK Together Present Three-Day Learning Event

COSTA MESA, CA – January 15, 2015 – The Children and Families Commission of Orange County in collaboration with the Children’s Center at Caltech and THINK Together, and in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, presents the Early Childhood Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (ECSTEM) Conference to promote and increase awareness of the importance of introducing STEM education in early childhood. The conference, scheduled for February 5 to 7, will bring together educators, community leaders, politicians, practitioners and researchers to address the opportunities challenges of STEM instruction.

Early childhood, birth through eight years, is most crucial for developing a strong foundation of knowledge and skills for successful lifelong learning. While these young children are prime to understand and learn concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, early educators are often not adequately trained or prepared to teach them. As the shortage of professionals in STEM fields is heading to crisis levels in the US and California, the goal of the 2015 conference is to raise awareness of this issue, give early educators practical training, and change the direction of the future for our youngest learners.

The three-day event will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa and feature nationally known keynote speakers, panels, workshops, exhibitors and hands-on demonstrations of ECSTEM instruction.

The series of events begins with a special panel discussion on Thursday, February 5, where the public is invited to engage with experts in the STEM field. The speakers range from distinguished professors and early education practitioners to top business leaders. Notable speakers include:

  • Greg Duncan, Ph.D. – Professor, University of California, Irvine, CA
  • Lilian Katz, Ph.D. – Professor, University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, IL
  • Carrie Lynne Draper, MEd – Executive Director, Readiness Learning Associates, Pasadena, CA
  • Ellen Khoka, MA – Founder and former Executive Director, The Growing Place, Santa Monica, CA
  • Linda Christopher, MA – Executive Director, Orange County Stem Initiative, Irvine, CA
  • Tamika Lang, MA – Manager, The Boeing Company, Irvine, CA

The conference continues on Friday, February 6 and Saturday, February 7 with keynote speakers Greg Duncan, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, CA, and Daniel Siegel, MD, clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, as well as a variety of workshops for early childhood educators to home childcare providers, on topics including:

  • Intentional Teaching
  • Defining Engineering in the Early Childhood Experience
  • Essential Math Skills
  • Woodworking with Children
  • Transforming Pre-K Activities

Attendees will also have access to The Teaching Lab, a typical early childhood classroom set up on-site, to show teachers how easy it is to make contemporary science, math, engineering and technology approachable and exciting for young children.

The 2015 ECSTEM Conference has received underwriting sponsorship from The Boeing Company, PBS SoCal, Children’s Home Society of California, OC STEM Initiative, Stratford School, Pretend City and the Orange County Business Council. Exhibitors at the event include Kaplan Early Learning Company, Discount School Supply, Wholemovement, Community Playthings, Lego Education, Lakeshore Learning, Abrams Learning Trends, Kodo Kids, ETA Hand2Mind, Inside the Outdoors, Springfield College and National University.

Registration is required for all conference attendees. Tickets can be purchased at For additional information, please visit

About the Children and Families Commission of Orange County
The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is a leader in responding to children’s needs and supporting programs and policy best practices for children’s health and development. The Commission was created as a result of Proposition 10, the California Children and Families Act of 1998, which added a 50-cent sales tax on tobacco products sold in California and required that funds raised be used to support education, health and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage through age five. Funds collected statewide are allocated to local county commissions based on each county’s birth rate. The Children and Families Commission of Orange County has identified, funded and supported programs with demonstrable positive impacts on children’s health and school readiness. Our strong strategic partnerships have allowed us to leverage collective resources to better meet the challenges associated with keeping children healthy and ready to learn.

About The Children’s Center at Caltech (CCC)
Since 1972, The Children’s Center at Caltech (CCC) has been serving children six months through five years of age. The CCC is a non-profit organization, and is a national leader in STEM Early Education. The CCC developed a STEM based curriculum that utilizes a constructivist approach to plan and implement an inquiry-based learning program. In addition, the CCC conducts professional development workshops on and off site.

About THINK Together
Serving more than 100,000 students at more than 440 locations, THINK Together is a non-profit education organization that partners with public and private agencies, schools and school districts, to help close the achievement gap and is the state of California’s largest provider of extended learning time programs.

Media Contact: Nicole Morrison at or (949) 200-6110.


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