Virginia Beach GrowSmart exists to promote and improve the healthy development, school readiness, and reading proficiency of young children, ages 0-8. If you are a parent or caregiver of a young child, please visit our “Parents” page for resources and information on raising healthy, happy, and school-ready children.
In addition to providing resources for parents and families, GrowSmart offers programming to ensure the availability of high-quality early education and to promote reading proficiency by third grade. Follow the links below to learn more about these initiatives.
The Early Education Small Business Training Program was launched in 2010 as a partnership between Virginia Beach GrowSmart and the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The innovative program, which is led by SBDC business analyst Lauren Small, offers a unique approach to transforming and improving the businesses that provide childcare and early education to our future workforce. By assisting these small businesses in becoming financially stable and utilizing business best practices, the program ensures that the owner/operators can devote the majority of their time to quality service delivery and improved outcomes for children. For five consecutive years, the program has consistently reported strong outcomes. In 2014, the Hampton Roads SBDC won the Small Business Administration's "Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Center" Award because of the ground-breaking work of The Early Education Small Business Training Program.
To date, the program has helped to create 45 local jobs and has impacted over 1,500 families in Virginia Beach alone. It has also been replicated in the surrounding cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Virginia Beach's 2013 participants saw an average 28% increase in revenues and an average 26% increase in student enrollment. By combining sound business training with strategic quality improvement measures, the Early Education Small Business Training Program is revolutionizing the child care and early education industry, one small business at a time.
If you are a childcare or preschool owner or director interested in applying for the program, please
download and complete an application.
For more information on the program, please contact Lauren Small at:
LSmall@hrccva.com or by calling (757) 664-2590.
Through its Provider Training Series, Teacher Scholarship Program, and Kindergarten Transition Professional Development Workshop Series, Virginia Beach GrowSmart provides high-quality training and career advancement opportunities to Virginia Beach early education professionals. These opportunities are available to all early educators working within Virginia Beach and are always free-of-charge to participants.
With funding from Virginia Beach GrowSmart, Children's Harbor presented a series of nine professional development workshops from September 2016 to June 2017. Topics included: positive discipline, improving communication with parents and staff, meeting the needs of children, and many more. The inaugural series in 2013-14 was attended by 336 teachers who represented 63 Virginia Beach childcare and preschool programs. The 2016-17 series begins September 24. Download our 2016-17 course schedule.
If you are an early education provider working in the city of Virginia Beach, contact Children's Harbor to register for one of these FREE workshops! Call (757) 399-1337 or email:
While a quality learning environment and developmentally-appropriate curriculum are important to a child's early education, we know that it is the teacher who truly makes all the difference. Virginia Beach GrowSmart is committed to providing our childcare providers and early education teachers with opportunities to increase their knowledge, develop their skills and advance their careers with continuing education. GrowSmart awarded scholarships to eleven early education professionals in the 2014 spring semester and to fifteen professionals in the fall of 2014.
Any childcare or early education provider in Virginia Beach is invited to apply for a GrowSmart scholarship prior to the start of the fall and spring semester each academic year. Scholarships are awarded on a semester basis and cover all tuition and fees for qualifying classes. Scholarship recipients must pay for their own textbooks and supplies. For more information on our Teacher Scholarship Program or to apply for a scholarship for the upcoming semester, please
download and complete these forms. Refer to the cover sheet for submission instructions to the GrowSmart Office.
Making the transition from preschool to kindergarten is a BIG deal for kids and their parents. When preschools and elementary schools implement effective transition practices, kids and families can enjoy the excitement of starting kindergarten, without all of the anxiety. Virginia Beach GrowSmart offers multiple opportunities throughout the entire year for preschool and kindergarten teachers and administrators to work together to develop and implement transition plans that ease the fears of parents and kids and ensure a smooth transition to formal education. In 2013-14, GrowSmart hosted three separate kindergarten transition workshops that were attended by over 150 early education teachers and administrators. Topics included: STEM in the Early Childhood Classroom; Successful Transition Planning; and Social-Emotional Development in Young Children. As always, all trainings are provided free-of-charge. We will be kicking off our 2014-15 KG Transition PD Series in the fall and information will be available soon!
In addition to our Kindergarten Transition Professional Development Series, Virginia Beach GrowSmart has developed tools and resources to assist the teachers, parents, and caregivers of preschoolers in getting children ready for kindergarten. If you are an early education provider who works with preschoolers in Virginia Beach and would like more information on how to get involved in our Kindergarten Transition Program, please contact Virginia Beach GrowSmart:
email@example.com Call: (757) 385-0144
As a member of the national network of communities across the United States that have joined the
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Virginia Beach READS focuses on three pillars of success proven to directly impact reading proficiency in the early grades. By emphasizing the importance of school readiness, prevention of summer learning loss, and on-time daily attendance, Virginia Beach READS is committed to moving the needle on third grade reading. We know that children who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than skilled readers. With the implications to children, families, and our entire community, we are committed to preventing and addressing early reading failure. Learn more about our local campaign
Excellence in Children's Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL) was developed by the Virginia Literacy Institute of Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently being implemented in three Virginia Beach preschools. This research-based program focuses on building a preschool program's capacity to promote children's early language and literacy development through best practices classroom instruction and through a home-school literacy connection. The program has four essential components: intensive professional development and classroom-based coaching; high-quality instructional materials; family literacy events and materials; and multi-level evaluation.
From 2011-2013, Virginia Beach GrowSmart, through a combination of City funds, Early Learning Challenge grant money, and funding from the Virginia Department of Social Services, sponsored a two-year pilot of ExCELL in Childcare Network #63, an independently-owned preschool in the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach. In the fall of 2013, we expanded the program to five classrooms at three additional sites: Childcare Network #62, St. Aidan's Head Start, and Williams Farm Preschool Buddies.
Learn more about the ExCELL program
Each year, Virginia Beach GrowSmart sponsors a select number of childcare centers and preschools to participate in the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, or VSQI. This voluntary rating and improvement system serves both as a consumer education tool to help families identify quality settings for their children and as a systems-level strategy aimed at raising the overall quality early education throughout the Commonwealth. VSQI measures quality in early childhood education settings beyond basic licensing standards that are required by law. Upon enrollment in VSQI, a childcare or preschool site is first rated in four key areas:
After receiving a star rating of 1-5 stars, a site then works for two years with a trained mentor to develop and implement a Quality Improvement Plan. Sites also receive money to purchase classroom and instructional materials. Two years after the initial star rating, the center is re-rated. Tidewater Community College runs the VSQI program locally. There are currently 15 star-rated providers in Virginia Beach. Find a local star-rated center or family day home
If you are a center director interested in participating in VSQI, please contact Sarah Gunnell, VSQI program coordinator at:
firstname.lastname@example.org Call: (757) 822.5165
You already know that www.vbgrowsmart.com contains information to help you raise healthy children who are ready to succeed in school and in life. But did you know we also bring resources to you? In February, March, and April, GrowSmart is sponsoring three separate community events that focus on health, literacy, family, and fun! If you are a parent looking for free and fun family events or a caring adult looking to volunteer in your community, read below for more information.
GrowSmart Kid Fest takes place on Saturday, February 20 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Lynnhaven Mall. Event partners include the Infant & Toddler Connection, Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, Virginia Beach Department of Public Health/WIC program, The Up Center, Studio Bamboo Yoga Studio, and Babywearing International. Our feature activity will be a Diaper Derby at noon – come and find out whose baby is the fastest crawler! We will also have a variety of activities and demonstrations, resource booths, and give-aways for parents and children. Kids can enjoy face painting and arts and crafts. Escape the cold and enjoy the warmth of the mall and its newly-redesigned children’s play area. We hope to see you there!
For the third straight year, Virginia Beach GrowSmart will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s life and legacy during national Read Across America Day on Wednesday, March 2. Over 150 guest readers from our community will visit area childcare centers and preschools for a fun-filled morning of reading and learning. This year’s theme is Horton Hears a Who! A copy of this classic Seuss title will be given to each participating classroom, and the children will each receive a high-interest book to add to his or her home library. As Horton said, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” When caring adults give our time to small children, we let them know just how important they are. Contact GrowSmart to sign up as a guest reader today!
Virginia Beach GrowSmart celebrates children all year long. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, GrowSmart will sponsor a large community event at Mt. Trashmore in honor of Month of the Military Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Celebrating Children 2016 will feature a 1.5-mile family fun/run with medals and snacks for all race finishers, plus trophies for first place, first military child to cross the finish line, and elementary school with the most race participants. We will have bounce houses, kids’ games and activities, dozens of exhibitors, and even a few surprise special guests! This event remains FREE and open to the public. Mark your calendar today!
: Bringing together City, Schools, and the Community for
a common mission.
GrowSmart’s mission is to promote and improve the
healthy development, school readiness, and reading
proficiency of young children, ages 0-8, in Virginia
This site was designed to provide information and resources for Virginia Beach parents, caregivers,and teachers of young children, ages 0-8.
The site is also intended for our community stakeholders who wish to find out more about the City of Virginia Beach’s early learning efforts and how you can get involved.
Address: 4525 Main Street Suite 700 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Phone: (757) 385-0144
© Copyright 2016
| The City of Virginia Beach