There are many factors that influence a child’s development during the critical first brain-building years. Elements of health, learning, social services, and others combine to provide the foundation for the brain’s rapidly growing architecture. Helping coordinate these elements into a coherent, aligned whole -- systems building -- is a key part of our work.
The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation serves as the convener between public and private sectors to increase efficiencies, encourage innovation and create partnerships. The Foundation acts as the backbone for a statewide network of Smart Beginnings collaborative partnerships that convene community leaders to build the capacity of local communities to create optimal environments for children's growth and development.
To learn more about systems building and its importance to school readiness, watch this two minute video from the Build Initiative.
Focus on Quality
An early childhood system is only as good as the quality of its programs and its teachers. This is why VECF places so much emphasis on supporting continuous cycles of improvement to ensure every child and family has access to high-quality learning opportunities which lead directly to school readiness.
On the program level, VECF co-administers the Virginia Quality rating and improvement system with the Virginia Department of Social Services. Virginia Quality is a way for providers to be acknowledged and supported in implementing research-backed best practices.
On the teacher level, VECF helps lead several initiatives around quality, including a major push for increasing the skills of our early learning workforce. For more detail, click here.
Data & Policy
If used strategically, data can be an invaluable tool in helping to shape an effective and efficient early childhood system.
VECF is committed to making sure the Commonwealth’s early childhood data systems are able to guide and support the broader system, and that research across the state is being coordinated and connected in ways that lead to a meaningful impact on children’s school readiness. Learn more about VECF’s work to support data capacity at both the state and local level through the development of an Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) and capacity-building grants to communities.
VECF also works to ensure that the Commonwealth’s policymakers have access to the information they need to make policy decisions that support a healthy and effective early childhood sector. This includes access to local and national research, best practices from other states, and on-the-ground experiences of stakeholders.