Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area, a 501(c)(3), is an early childhood initiative designed to ensure young children are prepared for success in school and success in life. We are a coalition of over 80 public and private agencies, businesses and individuals.

Studies by the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and the Economic Policy Institute share this common conclusion: investing now in early childhood development yields tremendous economic and social benefits by reducing crime and welfare dependency while building the competitive, productive workforce our community will need in the future.

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area is led by an active volunteer Board comprised of community leaders and we are supported by local businesses, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and local governments. We bring together parents, business people, community leaders and local agencies to strengthen existing early childhood education programs and implement new approaches where needed.

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area serves the city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, Culpeper, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. We are deeply concerned that in our region, up to 1 in 7 children arrive in kindergarten without the basic skills to succeed. This severely limits their chances for success in the work place, in their own personal health and in their ability to contribute to society. We believe that supporting early childhood education is a smart investment with a proven return.

We are committed to transforming their lives because we know that it will change the world we live in.

  • 1 in 7 children in our community arrive in kindergarten without the basic skills to succeed.
  • 90% of a child’s brain is developed before reaching kindergarten.
  • Studies show that every $1 invested in early childhood education returns up to $17 to our community.
  • When at-risk children experience high-quality early learning programs, they have better school, employment and life outcomes.
  • The seeds of desirable workforce skills – critical thinking, teamwork, effective communication – are planted before the age of 5.
  • Early experiences carry lifelong effects, not just on cognitive and emotional development, but also on long-term physical health.

Project Pathfinders

Project Pathfinders is a scholarship program designed to support current child care and preschool teachers and providers with financial support to pursue credentials, certificates, and degrees through Virginia’s Community College System.

Community Resources

We will schedule sessions between Educational Specialists and Families to establish the right program for your child's learning needs.

Virginia Quality Birth to Five System

This is a voluntary program that assesses, improves, and communicates the level of quality in early care and education settings.

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