School Readiness

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Preparing children, families, schools and communities

In Virginia, School Readiness means preparing all children for kindergarten by supporting birth to age-five programming, including the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Special Education. Virginia's focus includes key classroom practices including the use of high-quality curriculum and assessment, teacher-child interactions and individualized professional development as well as strengthening family engagement. VDOE also works with other state agencies that serve young children to build a more unified birth to age-five early childhood care and education system.

Virginia’s Definition of School Readiness (PDF) describes the capabilities of children, families, schools and communities that promote student success in kindergarten and beyond. Each component – children, families, schools and communities – plays an essential role in developing school readiness.

  • Ready Children are prepared socially, personally, physically and intellectually to meet literacy, mathematics, science, history/social science and developmental standards for four-year-olds described in Virginia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), Birth-Five Learning Guidelines (PDF) | Spanish.

  • Ready Families include parents and other adults who take responsibility for school readiness through direct, frequent and positive involvement with their children and by maintaining stable relationships and environments that promote healthy development and learning.

  • Ready Schools provide a seamless transition to a learning environment led by skilled teachers and welcome all children with opportunities to enhance and build their skills, knowledge and abilities. More about Virginia preschoolscurriculum and teacher professional development.

  • Ready Communities – including businesses, faith-based organizations, early childhood service providers, community groups and local governments – support schools and families through information and access to high-quality child care and other early learning opportunities and services.


The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP)

Child wearing backpack holding and parent's handThe VKRP provides teachers, parents, and administrators a comprehensive understanding of students’ school readiness skills at kindergarten entry as well as their skills at the end of kindergarten. VKRP complements Virginia’s statewide assessment of students’ literacy skills, using the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS), with assessments of early math (using the Early Mathematics Assessment System or EMAS) and self-regulation and social skills (using the Child Behavior Rating Scale or CBRS).  

To learn more about VKRP and how it works, visit the VKRP website. There you will find a variety of informative resources, including a more detailed overview (PDF) and snapshot (PDF) of the VKRP and related blogs.

Read Superintendent Lane’s and Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway’s message to Virginia’s families and educators about VKRP: 
VKRP (Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program): A Pathway to Understanding Student Readiness Skills Statewide


The following presentations and presenter’s notes on School Readiness are suitable for use during school and community meetings to explain school readiness and the components needed to ensure that children are prepared for kindergarten.