Fellow Early Childhood Care and Education Stakeholders,

Following months of collaboration with lead partners at Virginia Commonwealth University and diverse stakeholders and early childhood experts, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is in the final stages of developing a new unified set of early learning and development standards for children ages birth to five. This project supports Virginia’s efforts to strengthen its birth to five early childhood care and education (ECCE) system to ensure all Virginia children have the opportunity to enter kindergarten ready.  The current draft has been posted here for review and final public comments. 

As fellow Virginians and Americans, we are grappling with the multi-faceted impact of COVID-19, which has disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic communities, and civil unrest spurred on by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. The VDOE is committed to fighting racial injustice in our society, eradicating racism in our schools and communities and ensuring that equitable academic outcomes are achieved for ALL students, regardless of background or zip code. This work must begin early and reach every aspect of our ECCE system- from attitudes, practices, teaching, pedagogy, instructional materials and curricula to standards. Virginia’s new early learning standards must reflect our most important values as we work to strengthen Virginia’s birth to five ECCE system.

For this final public comment opportunity, you are asked to review the current draft document with a critical eye for how well these standards 1) reflect cultural competency and responsiveness, 2) inclusivity and 3) are pragmatic and accessible to diverse audiences. A short survey follows with statements to guide your review and space for open feedback. 

Note: Once finalized, these standards will replace the Department of Social Services’ Milestones of Child Development and the VDOE’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning. Programs may phase in the new birth-five standards, with expected use beginning in 2021-2022. The final draft will be presented to the Board of Education in November.  

For questions, contact Tamilah Richardson at Tamilah.Richardson@doe.virginia.gov.

Thank you for your support.