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Welcome to Smart Beginnings VP Blog!

courtesy of Time Magazine

It’s been almost a year since I moved back to Virginia and began serving in executive leadership at Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula (SBVP). Since I’ve worked in the early childhood field for 40 years and in 4 different states, I’ve watched the evolution of our work on behalf of children, families and child care professionals. In every office where I’ve served, I posted this Time magazine special issue cover from the early 1990s as a reminder of how far we’ve come. The research in brain science, long-term economic impact, and workforce development is clear: what we do for each young child pre-natal to age five, sets the foundation for a lifetime.

Virginia’s Smart Beginnings school readiness efforts across the state and on the Peninsula has contributed to many long-term solutions. At SBVP our programming and commitment to measurable impact has yielded results such as:

Community Partnerships – fostering collaboration and exploring upstream solutions through a Home Visiting Council, Child Care Shared Services Alliance, Trauma Informed Care Network and the new Collective Impact Initiative

Virginia Quality – improved quality at 93 child care centers through training, coaching and technical assistance

• Behavior Support – ensured over 40 children remained in child care because teachers received behavioral support services from specialists

Child Care Resource and Referral – connected 206 families to assist in locating quality child care

Universal Screen – impacted 3000+ pregnancies

Oral Health Initiative – 1581 Pre-K children educated and made aware of positive habits

I am proud to be working at the local level at this time in our collective history. Together, we are truly changing conditions for young children over time. SBVP wants to keep you informed and educated about the good things happening for kids and families in our neighborhoods and towns. Our newly refreshed website will be a good place to keep up. Our new blog will be a place to hear the perspective of friends, colleagues, parents and others who champion this work, so check this space often or consider subscribing to stay engaged!

-Diane Umstead


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