Shaping the future of child care and development.

FirstSpark is a nonprofit organization serving Virginia’s Greater Peninsula and Northern Neck that works alongside parents and educators by providing training, support programs and resources to ensure every child ages zero to five has access to the cognitive and social-emotional experiences that prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. We are here to help make connections, engage with community leaders and advocate for the future of early childhood education.

Our Mission

To provide leadership that champions a collaborative system to provide high-quality care, education, and health services for children in our region so they are ready for kindergarten and for life.

Our Vision

All children will start school prepared and healthy.

Our Mantra

Before they take their first breath, a child is learning.

Every person and environment they experience is imprinting on their inquisitive and developing minds.

The first years are magical.
And the gravity of them is monumental.

Families and early childhood educators fight, day in, day out, to ensure each child gets what they need in these critical first years. Often, their task is impossible.

The responsibility falls on too few, and many lack access to the critical resources, connections and support they need to succeed. Despite their best efforts, kids are falling through the cracks.

That’s where we come in.

We stand beside those shouldering the responsibility of early childhood education, championing their efforts, providing education, training and resources, ensuring access for those who need it most, and shaping the policy that impacts us all.

We are FirstSpark, standing with the people of our community for our future: our children.

We support families and educators in Virginia’s Greater Peninsula and Northern Neck as:

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An Expert

providing educators and families with the on-the-ground support and training they need to foster social-emotional and cognitive growth in every child.

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A Convener

bringing together policymakers, community leaders, caregivers, parents, and educators to shape the future of care and access.

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A Navigator

facilitating access to quality early child care and education for the region’s children under the age of five.

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A Champion

making sure all parties that shoulder the tremendous responsibility of tomorrow get the emotional support they need to succeed.

More About Ready Region Chesapeake Bay

We are proud to have been selected as the lead organization for Ready Region Chesapeake Bay, serving the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg; and the counties of Essex, Gloucester, James City, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, and York. As a Ready Regions lead organization, we are part of a statewide effort focused on:

We coordinate the unified measurement and quality improvement system in publicly funded classrooms as part of Unified Virginia Quality Birth to Five System (VQB5).

We are committed to partnering with other organizations and stakeholders across our 16 counties and cities to build a data-driven common agenda and robust regional coalition, supported by local planning groups to ensure a sustained and unified early childhood system.

View our Coalition Newsletter here.

We collaborate with early-education stakeholders to create better processes to “coordinate enrollment” across publicly funded programs in the region, including Child Care Centers and Family Childcare Homes, Head Start, Virginia Preschool Initiative, and we also manage a local Mixed Delivery Program. Our goal is to address disparities so that all children have access to opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, family income, language, ability, geography or zip code.

Register for PreK here.

Families are the building blocks of our communities. We have created Family Councils to center their voices as their child’s first teachers. By engaging families, we are creating a more parent-centered and responsive early childhood system.

Access To Resources

From low-cost and free prenatal services to tips on finding child care and resources for early childhood development, we can help.

View Resources