Early Learning Opportunities

Virginia Beach GrowSmart has a bold goal – ALL children will have access to quality early learning environments. We know that supporting a child’s healthy development at birth provides them a firm foundation for later education and life success.

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Early Learning Opportunities

Research shows that 80 percent of a child’s brain develops by age 3. Children begin learning at birth from every interaction, relationship, and environment they are in. Language rich environments stimulate brain development – back and forth interactions matter! Children also need human interaction and healthy attachment to help them thrive. We strive to support healthy learning from birth in all environments – home, school, and the community.

Early Learning at Home

You’ve often heard parents are their child’s first teacher. The role of parents and caregivers is critical to provide healthy and secure attachment in babies. Loving relationships provide children with a sense of comfort, safety, confidence, and promote emotional well-being. Children are born with a natural sense of wonder and learn through play and exploration in their environment. We want to connect parents and caregivers to local and national resources to support you in this important role.

Zero to Three works to ensure that babies and toddlers benefit from the early connections that are critical to their well-being and development. They take the science of early childhood and provide easy to use resources to support a child’s healthy development in multiple learning domains: cognitive, social-emotional, language development/communication, and health/physical development.

Mind in the Making, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation, shares the science of children’s learning through innovative in-depth training and materials geared for action. Children can develop critical executive functioning skills through the guided support of parents, caregivers, and professionals. Many resources are available to support the development of these critical life skills and book tips for children of all ages.

VROOM believes all parents want what’s best for their children. They have joined with scientists, researchers, and parents to take the science out of the lab and put it in the hands of caregivers. Vroom provides science-based tips and tools to inspire families to turn shared, everyday moments into Brain Building Moments®. They have an easy app that helps provide brain-building tips for your daily routines.

Sesame Street in Communities builds on our almost 50-year commitment to caring for the developmental, physical, and emotional needs of children. Thoroughly researched and tested with families, these resources are proven to make a measurable difference for kids and make your job as a parent a little bit easier.

Early Learning at School/Child Care

Virginia Beach City Public Schools – Pre-K Program:

Virginia Beach City Public Schools offers a Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program to children with the greatest need at many elementary schools. Pre-Kindergarten is a full-day program that follows the VBCPS school calendar and school hours. The Pre-K program provides children with purposeful learning experiences to prepare them for a successful transition to kindergarten while also creating a strong educational foundation. Through the implementation of a developmentally-appropriate, hands-on curriculum, students will be engaged in learning literacy with a focus on phonemic awareness, language enrichment, letters/sounds, decoding and beginning reading and writing; numeracy with a focus on numbers and number sense; and social/emotional development. The program develops students’ communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills and integrates technology to support learning.


The Pre-K program is funded through the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) and Title I grants awarded to the school division. Acceptance into the program is not on a first-come, first-served basis, and a limited number of Pre-Kindergarten spots are available.

Children must be four years old on or before Sept. 30 of the upcoming school year and reside in Virginia Beach, VA. There are no exceptions to age and residency requirements. In addition, students are selected based on the following VPI eligibility criteria and identified risk factors:

  • Family income (based on Federal Poverty Guidelines);
  • Parents have not completed high school;
  • Families lacking fixed, regular or adequate housing (homelessness); and
  • The child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Pre-K being the most appropriate setting.

Other factors are also considered but have lower risk values. For more information and to apply, visit www.vbschools.com and the Pre-k program page.

Head Start

Head Start in Virginia Beach is offered by Mile High Kids and Community Development, Inc. MHK is a non-profit organization dedicated to community development. MHK was awarded the Head Start grant to service the City of Virginia Beach, VA. MHK provides comprehensive child development services for children between the ages of three and five to the most vulnerable children and their families, including children with special needs and disabilities in Virginia Beach.

Head Start Locations currently are:

  • Atlantis – 999 Atlantis Drive, Virginia Beach
  • MHK Academy – 350 Lynn Shores Drive, Virginia Beach
  • Twin Canal – 1484 Drawbridge Circle, Virginia Beach
  • St. Aidans – 3201 Edinburgh Drive, Virginia Beach

For more information visit https://www.milehigh-kids.org or call (757)962-8005 or email info@milehigh-kids.org.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Kindergarten

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) offers kindergarten classes for children who will be five-years-old on or before September 30 of the upcoming school year. Students attend the neighborhood elementary school assigned to their attendance zone. 52 VBCPS elementary schools will offer a full-day kindergarten program during the 2020-2021 school year For questions about the kindergarten program, please contact the Department of School Leadership at 757.263.1088. For questions about the kindergarten curriculum, please contact the Department of Teaching and Learning at 757.263.1070.

For more information on VBCPS Kindergarten click the links:

Enrolling Your Child

Enrollment Form

Enrollment Questionnaire

Kindergarten Handbook

Kindergarten Curriculum

Early Learning in the Community

Virginia Beach has over 200 child care providers that serve various ages between infant, toddler, pre-k, and school-age to meet your family's child care needs. Programs include licensed child day centers, licensed family day homes, religious exempt programs as well as voluntarily registered family homes. Many of these programs are committed to quality and some are nationally accredited or engaged in Virginia Quality. To find a location near you visit our Quality Child Care page or https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cc.cgi.

Early Learning in the Community

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation

Virginia Beach has a long-standing history of providing safe places for children to play, grow, and learn. Back in 1963, the City formed a strong collaborative partnership between Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department and Virginia Beach City Public Schools. We were one of the first communities to support children during out-of-school time. This commitment lives on today; we know it’s tough to balance your child care needs with your work schedules. Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation’s Out-of-School Time Programs operate before school, after school and summer programs for children ages 3 – 12 years old. BUT – did you know they offer affordable, quality licensed child care programs in the Recreation Centers at Bow Creek Recreation Center, Kempsville Recreation Center, Princess Anne recreation Center and Williams Farm Recreation Center. Please visit Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Out-of-School Time Programs for more information or call 385-0402.

Virginia Beach Public Libraries

Virginia Beach Public Libraries is a hub for learning for all ages! They offer a variety of programs to support our youngest learners to love reading, encourage curiosity, and develop critical skills. From storytime classes for all ages, coding classes, and Every Child Ready to Read – visit the Virginia Beach Public Libraries Kids Programs page or see more of their resources on the GrowSmart Virginia Beach Public Library page