Fellow Early Childhood Care and Education Stakeholders,

Thank you for taking time to review this preliminary draft of Virginia's unified set of early learning and development standards (ELDS). This project, led by Virginia Commonwealth University in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, is funded by the federal Preschool Development Grant, Birth to 5. The initiative is part of the state's efforts to better support all birth to five programs in providing developmentally-appropriate practice, individualizing care and instruction to meet the needs of all learners and promoting holistic and intentional learning and development at each age and stage. We believe that unified early learning and development standards can help improve academic and developmental outcomes for all children across the Commonwealth.

The current version of the Virginia ELDS draft document reflects months of collaboration among a diverse group of academic experts, practitioners, and early childhood care and education (ECCE) stakeholders. We appreciate the feedback that you, our highly valued ECCE community at-large, will provide to help us strengthen subsequent draft versions.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on engagement activities, an additional public comment opportunity for the latest version of the draft is planned for this fall. Once finalized, the new standards will replace the Department of Social Services’ Milestones of Child Development and the Virginia Department of Education’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning documents. Programs will be able to phase in the use of the updated birth-five standards, with expected use beginning in 2021-2022.

Our sincerest appreciation for your support of our efforts to ensure every child in Virginia enters kindergarten ready to thrive!

Virginia Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood