ACT for Alexandria

Early Care & Education

Investing in early care and education today will provide all of us with a strong return on tomorrow.


**We Have Exciting News!**

The Early Care and Education Workgroup (ECEW) has joined the statewide Smart Beginnings network. We have officially launched as Smart Beginnings Alexandria. To learn more about the initiative, and how you can get involved, please visit

ACT is committed to: 

  • Actively educating and engaging the community about the importance of investing in early childhood services
  • Best practice sharing and highlighting bright spot research
  • Convening the Early Care & Education Work Group and catalyzing the implementation of the Children & Youth Master Plan, Goal 2, Strategy 2.1

June 2020: Smart Beginnings Alexandria releases the Common Agenda 2020, which includes an updated strategic framework, priority activities for 2020 and a new set of indicators to measure progress for the early care and education systems building work in Alexandria. 

December 2019: Since its inception, Smart Beginnings Alexandria has promised to report out on the progress made through the initiative each December. The annual report shares progress of our collective efforts to develop an early care and education system. Click here to read the report. 

December 2018: The Early Care and Education Workgroup is pleased to release its third annual report. This report share progress on the ECEW's efforts to develop an early care and education system for the city. Click here to read the report. 

December 2017: The Early Care and Education Workgroup is pleased to release its second annual report (2017). This report builds on the ECEW Initial Baseline Report (2016), sharing progress from the last year of efforts to develop an early care and education system for the city. Click here to read the report. 

November 2017: The purpose of Fiscal Mapping Project was to collect and analyze the data around what and how resources are currently being invested in Alexandria's 0-5 year olds so that it is possible to understand where the gaps are, how those gaps might be filled most efficiently with existing or new resources, and where advocacy is needed for additional funding or policy changes. This report was generously funded by the Bruhn-Morris Family Foundation. Click here to read report

December 2016: The Early Care and Education Workgroup (ECEW) is pleased to release the ECEW Initial Baseline Report (2016). This report, which is the first of what the group plans to be an annual report, shares progress from the first year of the ECEW efforts to develop an early care and education system for the city. The report includes baseline and community contextual data updates on priority projects, and potential indicators and outcomes the group is working towards achieving. Click here to read the report. 

October 2016: The focus of ACT's fall IMPACT Forum was on early care & education in our community. On October 26, 2016, researchers, leaders, and community members both within and outside of the Early Care & Education system gathered to discuss ways to ensure that that Alexandria's early care and education needs are being met throughout the community. Click here for a full recap of the event. 

November 2015: The Risk & Reach Study is updated. Click here to view the updated study. Mission: Every child in Alexandria has a strong start in life and in school. See the Common Agenda for more information. 

October 2015:  ECEW releases the Common Agenda, including a mission statement, a strategic framework, priority activities for 2016 and set of indicators to measure progress for the early care and education systems building work in Alexandria. 

June 2015: ACPS 2020: A Strategic Plan for Alexandria's Future is adopted by the ACPS School Board. 

May 2015: ECEW engages with FSG, nationally recognized consultants, on a systems building strategy project for ECE. 

March 2015: ACT, the City of Alexandria and Alexandria City Public Schools sign an MOU for ACT to officially serve as the convener of the ECEW which was tasked with creating a strategic plan for the Children and Youth Master Plan, Strategy 2.1: Support the development and alignment of, and access to, an early care and education program that prepares young children to enter kindergarten. 

June 2014: Alexandria City Council and the School Board approve the Children & Youth Master Plan for the city of Alexandria. This milestone was an important step towards ensuring that all of Alexandria's children and youth succeed today and tomorrow. 

Fall 2013: The ECEW releases the Risk & Reach Study

June 2013: ACT hosts the IMPACT: Early Care & Education Forum highlighting state and national best practices in ECE. 

Spring 2013: ACT begins convening the Early Care and Education Work Group (ECEW), comprised of a wide array of stakeholders in early care and education (ECE) systems building, including leadership from the City of Alexandria, Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria Department of Community & Human Services, Alexandria Health Department, community/nonprofit ECE providers, the Children, Youth & Families Collaborative Commission, Bruhn Morris Family Foundation and ACT. Click here to view the complete list of members. 

ACT is also convening the Quality Collaborative Partnership and serving as the fiscal agent for various projects undertaken by this group. 

The Quality Collaborative is a coalition* of Alexandria Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) and Head Start early education providers who are collaborating on a best practice professional development pilot to support improved teaching in early childhood classrooms that are serving low-income families in the city. The pilot will be focused around the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a research-based tool developed at the University of Virginia, and seeks to support child development through teacher development. The model will feature a tiered, individualized approach to professional development that will include intensive coaching/mentoring, videotaped classroom observations and reflection, as well as the establishment of peer teacher networks/learning communities across early childhood programs. The project will target approximately 60-65 lead teachers of the 41 VPI, Special Education and Head Start early childhood classrooms in the city, currently serving over 720 of the highest need young children in the city. 

The Quality Collaborative's work also includes the coordinated preschool brochures found below as well as teacher appreciation events. 

*Alexandria City Public Schools, ALIVE!, Child & Family Network Centers, Creative Play School and The Campagna Center. 


Ready for Preschool?

Click on the brochures below, provided in Amharic, Arabic, English and Spanish, to learn about high quality, free or low-cost preschool opportunities for qualifying families in the City of Alexandria. 

Flyer in Amharic Ready for Preschool Brochure: Amharic 

Flyer in Arabic Ready for Preschool Brochure: Arabic

Flyer in English Ready for Preschool Brochure: English

Flyer in Spanish Ready for Preschool Brochure: Spanish

Risk & Reach Study 

Click here to download the Early Care & Education in Alexandria Risk & Reach Study Presentation and watch the video below for highlights from the study. 



Give to the Early Care & Education Fund

 Click the button below to make an online donation to the Early Care & Education Fund. Checks may also be sent to: ACT for Alexandria, 201 N. Union Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314. 

Online Donation Button

IMPACT: Early Care & Education Forum Presentations

Tana Ebbole, Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County 
"Healthy. Safe. Strong."

Kathy Glazer, Virginia Early Childhood Foundation 
"Expanding Access and Improving Quality"

Tonja Rucker, National League of Cities - Institute for Youth, Education, and Families 
"Pre K - 3rd Grade Alignment: How Non-School Partners are Engaging in This Work"

Early Care & Education Links

Alexandria Children & Youth Master Plan 2014

Maryam Adamu, Katie Hamm, Tim Vance, and Farah Ahmad
James Minervino and Robert Pianta
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation 
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America 
"Leveling the Playing Field: The Value of Investing in Early Childhood Practice, Policy, and Knowledge"

Mission: Readiness - "Military Leaders for Kids" 
"Pre-K Around the Beltway, High-Quality Early Education in the Metropolitan Washington, DC Area Can Help Build a Stronger Country"

The Atlantic Cities 
"The Best Thing We Could Do About Inequality is Universal Preschool"

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child - Multimedia Resources

National League of Cities 
"Educational Alignment for Young Children: Profiles of Local Innovation (2012)"

Zero to Three
"The School Ready Child (Infographic)"

Alexandria City Public Schools and City of Alexandria 
"Alexandria's Schools, Families and Seniors: What Happens Next?"