Education begins at birth
From the time a child is born, he or she is learning and taking in valuable lessons from the environment. In the early years, the child typically learns from parents, family members and other engaged caregivers. From birth to age five, children are exposed to the skills necessary to begin school ready to learn in the classroom. The goal for preschool-aged children is for them to be ready to enter kindergarten. Virginia provides resources to help families, caregivers and communities prepare them for successful entry into kindergarten.
Use the topics below to find information about programs and services for children from birth to age five or use the menu of topics on the right. Both lead to information helpful for understanding how to support Virginia's children for kindergarten success and beyond.
Information on these pages also includes resources and strategies for early childhood professionals to help provide Virginia's early learners with high-quality education and experiences. Families may also find these resources helpful.
Ready for Success
School Readiness - acquiring skills for kindergarten
School readiness describes the capabilities of children, families, schools and communities that promote student success in kindergarten and beyond. All four components play an essential role in developing school readiness.
"The investments we make in our children today will have long-term returns for their lives and the strength of Virginia’s economy," Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
More about School Readiness >>
Preparing children for kindergarten and beyond
Virginia public schools operate certified preschools programs. Virginia also certifies preschool programs operated by accredited private schools. Use this site to find accredited preschools.
In addition, Virginia is working to improve quality and expand access to preschool programs for at-risk, low-income and special-needs children.
More about Preschool programs >>
You may also be interested in the curriculum, tools and strategies used by preschool teachers >>
Children with Disabilities
Meeting each child's unique learning needs
Children with special needs who have experienced support early in life do better in future settings. Programs are available in all Virginia localities for children with disabilities or developmental delays, including:
- Early Intervention - birth-age 2,
- Children ages 2-5, and
- Children as they transition into preschool and on to kindergarten.
More about Special Education and Early Intervention >>
Child Development & Health
Guiding children through the first years
Child Development & Health – The physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth that takes place in the first years of a child’s life lays the foundation for success or failure in learning and life. Here you will find resources for measuring a child's development and health, milestones of development, as well as tips and activities.
Quality Child Care
Parents' guide to finding safe, quality child care
The Child Care VA website provides information on a variety of child care areas including licensing, laws and regulations, and child care options and guidance. Child care programs and services for Virginia families are offered through the Virginia Department of Social Services.