Focus on Quality

Virginia Quality 

Children with access to high quality early learning experiences are more likely to acquire the skills they need to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Quality Rating and Improvement System: Virginia's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), which is called "Virginia Quality", is designed to assist child care and preschool programs in providing high quality early care and education and recognize programs for the services they are providing to families.  Virginia Quality also provides consistent, unbiased information to families about the different types of child care and preschool options available.  Virginia's QRIS is implemented through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, and eight regional agencies.

Quality Standards: Virginia's QRIS awards quality levels to child care and preschool programs based on four nationally recognized quality standards and best practices: the education and qualifications of the staff, the curriculum or intentional teaching approach the program uses to guide children's learning, the learning environment, and teacher-child interactions.  Learn More.

Teacher Quality - Upskilling Virginia's Early Learning Workforce

The single most important investment Virginia can make toward promoting school readiness and a strong workforce is in strengthening the competencies of those who care for and teach young children.  Now is an opportune time to forge consensus and build a plan to maximize Virginia's commitment to workforce development, emphasize competency-based credentialing, and leverage partnership with the community college system. VECF is committed to providing leadership to ensure this important workforce has access to competency-building coursework and credentials.

Launch Discussion for Upskilling Virginia's Early Learning Workforce:
  A remarkable set of key stakeholders convened for an initial discussion in July 2015 to recognize the importance of this workforce; understand national trends, concerns, and opportunities; learn about the barriers and challenges with the existing PD pathway in Virginia; and begin to map out a more cohesive professional development pathway for this important workforce.  For more details, see the group's working paper.  This initial Upskilling discussion co-hosted by VECF and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce resulted in the following:

  • National Academy of Medicine Initiative (NAM):  Thanks to a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a team of Virginia stakeholders, led by VECF, participated in a 5-state initiative to create state-specific plans for early education workforce development.   The work of this team of experts resulted in the following recommendations and reports:
                                 Virginia NAM Team's Abbreviated Report
                                 Virginia NAM Team's Position Statement and Recommendations
                                 Virginia NAM Team's Full Final Report

                                 Virginia's Definition of School Readiness                                
                                 Virginia's Standards and Competencies Crosswalk

  • School Readiness Committee: The School Readiness Committee was created by the 2016 General Assembly via HB 46. In recognition of the fact that one of the most important factors in learning outcomes for young children is the capabilities of the adults who support their growth and learning, the first goal of the Committee is to address the development and alignment of an effective professional development and credentialing system for the early childhood education workforce in the Commonwealth.  VECF is pleased to provide for the facilitation of the committee and to serve as a member of the steering committee.
  • Project Pathfinders: In partnership with the Virginia Community College System, VECF will administer a scholarship program, Project Pathfinders, designed to increase the skills of early childhood professionals in preschool and child care settings by accessing community college coursework and credentials.

Access to High Quality Preschool

VECF is working with Smart Beginnings partners across the state to understand barriers and promote opportunities for increasing access to high quality preschool.

Mixed-Delivery Preschool Grant Program: Thanks to funding made available in the FY17-18 biennial budget by Governor McAuliffe and supported by leaders in the legislature, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation will fund local pilots to field-test potential solutions to barriers that have prevented all eligible children from participating in Virginia’s preschool initiative. Legislation creating the Mixed-Delivery Preschool Fund and Grant Program (House Bill 47, Patron: Greason) outlines specific priorities for the program. By promoting flexibility and “out of the box” thinking, these pilots represent the opportunity to promote more public-private partnerships and increased collaboration between business, education, and community leaders.   Read more.

Joint Subcommittee on the Virginia Preschool Initiative: Established by the 2015 General Assembly, the Joint Subcommittee on VPI, consists of five members each from the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees, and is tasked with considering increasing accountability, flexibility, innovation, clarification of the state's role and policy relating to providing a preschool for economically disadvantaged children, and further developing the facilitation of partnerships between school divisions and private providers for the Virginia Preschool Initiative.  The Subcommittee will also review and consider possible recommendations regarding the development of a competency-based professional development framework for early childhood teachers in public schools and early learning practitioners in private early learning settings.  The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation is pleased to provide support and resources to the members and staff of the Joint Subcommittee as directed in the language establishing the Joint Subcommittee.

Virginia's Preschool Puzzle:  This document provides guidance to communities interested in exploring partnerships promoting access to and quality in publicly funded mixed delivery preschool.

Increasing Preschool Access: A Policy Proposal for the Virginia Preschool Initiative:  A terrific team of Master of Public Policy students at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at UVA prepared this report and recommendations for VECF.  Read their fresh ideas to support Virginia's commitment to ensuring access to high quality preschool for at-risk-4-year olds, including sliding tuition scale, mixed delivery strategies, and slot reallocation.

Confronting the Fade Out Debate:  A SREB report with a thoughtful exploration of the importance of sustaining quality early learning and in the elementary grades to ensure lasting effect.  This brief is a nice companion piece to VECF's recent report on outcomes through 8th grade for participants in Virginia's publicly funded pre K programs.