For Children and Families


For Children and Families

Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Quality Early Care and Education
Quality Options for Income-Eligible Families
Before and After School Care
Special Needs
Helpful Resources for Families

 Getting Ready for Kindergarten

From birth, parents begin to engage their children in learning and play a vital role in helping young children get ready for success in school. Daily interactions help to stimulate a child’s curiosity and nurture a lifelong love of learning. They include:

  • Talking and reading to children regularly.
  • Ensuring positive interactions with children.
  • Helping children develop positive social relationships with family members and others.
  • Establishing routines and helping children to complete tasks.

Families also play a central role in ensuring their children’s health, safety and wellbeing – essential components of a child’s school readiness. This includes:

  • Taking children for regular vision, dental and medical screenings.
  • Tapping available resources early for children with special needs.
  • Ensuring access to nutritious food.
  • Establishing regular bedtime routines to ensure adequate sleep.
  • Providing a safe and secure environment at home, in the car and throughout the day.

Often, children who are ready to begin kindergarten demonstrate some of the following characteristics and behaviors:

  • Show curiosity about the world around them.
  • Enjoy interacting with books.
  • Engage in drawing and writing.
  • Count and use numbers.
  • Cooperate well with others.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Show pride in their accomplishments.

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Quality Early Care and Education

The Commonwealth of Virginia, like many states, has its own Quality Rating and Improvement System, now referred to as Virginia Quality.

Virginia Quality is a statewide system designed to assist early care and education programs in their efforts to assess, improve and communicate the level of quality of their services. This system defines standards, creates a framework for accountability and establishes a network of support and outreach for programs that families consider for their children. Participation is voluntary.

Center-based and family child care home programs participate in Virginia Quality. Program goals include:

  • Ensuring that the best possible early learning experiences are available for young children and families through high quality early care and education programs.
  • Providing information and support to early childhood programs and professionals to improve and sustain the quality of their programs.
  • Providing families with resources to identify and select a high quality program that is best for their children.

When searching for quality early care and education programs, consider programs that:

  • Are regulated because regulated programs are inspected, monitored and receive training and technical assistance.
  • Employ caring individuals who are educated in child development and early childhood education.
  • Employ teachers and administrators experienced in working with children younger than six years of age.
  • Enable staff to participate in regular professional development opportunities.
  • Maintain ratios and group sizes mandated by state licensing.
  • Use a play-based, child-centered curriculum in a learning environment that is organized by learning centers.
  • Are accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).

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 Quality Options for Income-Eligible Families

Families with low income may wish to explore some of the following quality family child care or center-based programs to determine eligibility and/or child care subsidy:

  • Early Head Start/Head Start
    Head Start is a national child development program designed to prepare children for success in school by enhancing their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.
  • Child Care Assistance and Referral (CCAR)
    Provides financial assistance for child care to eligible Fairfax County families.
  • School Age Child Care (SACC)
    SACC provides fun, safe and educational care for children in kindergarten-sixth grade before and after school, and during school vacations in most Fairfax County elementary schools.
  • Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI)
    VPI distributes state funds to schools and community-based organizations to provide quality preschool programs for four-year olds at risk of school failure and unserved by Head Start.

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  Helpful Resources for Families

Contact Us

Office Hours
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Phone: 703-324-8100; TTY 711


12011 Government Center Parkway
Suite 920
Fairfax, VA 22035

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Additional Information

Helping Your Child

pdf-icon-small Stepping Into Kindergarten

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-8100 or TTY 711.

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Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-8100 or TTY 711.

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