Early Childhood Care & Education
Quality early learning experiences are an essential element to preparing children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. The Virginia Department of Education helps prepare all children for kindergarten by supporting birth to five programming, including but not limited to the following:
- Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI)
- Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
- Head Start and Early Head Start
- Child care centers
- Family day homes
Watch the videos below to learn more.
VDOE Early Childhood State of the State Updates for Summer 2022
Jenna Conway, Deputy Superintendent of Early Childhood Care and Education delivers a comprehensive presentation in which she shares key updates for early childhood in Virginia.
Early Childhood Education: Key Ingredients
Every child deserves the chance to learn and grow early on so they can succeed later in life. Quality education begins with high-quality early learning.
Inclusion: What it takes to Educate ALL Children Together
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act both require early childhood programs to make reasonable accommodations and provisions for the inclusion of young children with disabilities.
Virginia's Focus on School Readiness
The years before a child enters school directly impact a child’s ability to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. School Readiness means preparing all children for kindergarten by supporting birth-to-five programming by:
- Using high-quality curriculum and assessment strategies
- Encouraging teacher-child interactions
- Providing individualized professional development
- Creating programming that supports family engagement
On July 1, 2021, the Virginia Department of Education became responsible for child care licensing and the child care subsidy program. This shift is part of Virginia's broader effort to unify and strengthen the birth-to-five landscape in Virginia. Visit Building a Unified Early Childhood System for information and resources related to this transition.
For parents and caregivers of children birth to age five
Find information and resources for children from birth to age five here, including the following:
- Developmental standards and guidelines
- Preschool programs
- Special education information
- Early childhood supports including health and social services
Includes information about Virginia's child care options, including how to become a licensed or registered child care provider, and how families can get help paying for child care.
Preschool programs for four-year-olds
Early childhood programs in Virginia public schools provide a foundation for learning and academic success. In addition to information on Preschool Programs and services, this section includes professional development resources for teachers and grant management tools for administrators.
Early Childhood Special Education
Special education services for children birth to age five
Virginia's public school system offers early childhood services as part of their special education programs. These Early Childhood Special Education services provide children with disabilities the services needed to attain skills that are comparable to their typically developing peers.
The Virginia Department of Education has been working closely with state agencies to ensure our schools and communities have the most up-to-date information and resources regarding COVID-19. The health and safety of our children and staff is our top priority. More information specific to Early Learning & Child Care is provided below.
- COVID-19 Vaccines
- VDH Back-to-School Safety Guide
- CDC Recommendations for School and Child Care Programs