Governor Northam announced a plan to improve the quality and availability of early childcare education to low-income families across Virginia.

As Chair of the Fairfax Child Care Advisory Council (CCAC), I responded to Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam’s invitation to join them for an announcement regarding Early Childhood Care and Education.

In their announcement, Governor Northam Proposed a Historic Investment in Early Childhood Education, $94.8 million in new funding, legislation that will transform Virginia’s early education system, and increase access for at-risk three- and four-year-old across the Commonwealth. Part of the plan calls for the transfer of oversight for childcare and early education to shift from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Education.

According to Governor Northam, this is the most substantial early childhood investment in the Commonwealth’s history. The purpose of the proposed plan is to improve the quality and availability of early childhood education to low-income families across Virginia, where more than 40 percent of children come to kindergarten unprepared. Click on the following link to read the press release from the Governor’s office https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2019/december/headline-849814-en.html. 

According to Scott Brabrand, Superintendent Fairfax County Public Schools in his panel discussion at the October’s Business Leadership Forum–Investing Today in Our Workforce of Tomorrow, in Fairfax Schools in some localities more than 60 percent of children come to kindergarten unprepared.  At this event hosted by Fairfax Future business and community leaders came together to network and discuss how their collective investment in high-quality early childhood education impacts this region’s future workforce. The forum served as a launch party for the NOVA Business Alliance for Early Childhood Education, a new initiative that will cultivate opportunities for business leaders to support a robust, diverse, and qualified workforce in our region. Visit Fairfax Future at https://fairfax-futures.org/ to learn more about their school readiness mission and work in the area of Early Childhood Development, Career, and Education.

The CCAC is partnering in the development and implementation of the Fairfax County Equitable School Readiness Strategic Plan. The County, Community, and Fairfax County Public Schools are working together on the following: to strengthen partnerships with families; increase access to quality early childhood experiences for all children; support a well-prepared early childhood workforce, and to ensure that all children have the equitable opportunity to begin school fully ready to succeed and thrive.

These are exciting times that come with initiatives and strategies in support of building early learning foundations. These initiatives also come with professional development along with training opportunities, and resources to educate as well as to equip childcare providers to improve kindergarten readiness outcomes for our youngest citizens and benefits for the whole community. It is essential that we get involved, keep up to date, and stay informed. Let’s start a discussion!

Monica Jackson, Family Child Care Provider                                Jackson Child Care www.mjchildcare.com      December 12, 2019