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Education

smart beg happy famThe Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Library of Virginia have partnered to designate May 11-June 15, the time period between Mother's Day and Father's Day, as an opportunity to focus on the unique needs of young children and to recognize that Smart Beginnings Start with Families.

Both of these partner organizations develop and implement statewide strategies to help parents and families provide young children with a strong foundation for school readiness and language development in the formative years from birth through age 5.

• The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) works in collaboration with Smart Beginnings initiatives in communities across the Commonwealth to promote school readiness and quality early experiences through a wide variety of initiatives designed to support families with young children.
• The Library of Virginia provides educational programs and resources on Virginia history and culture for students and teachers throughout the state, and consults with Virginia's public libraries to create enriching programs that encourage a love of reading in children of all ages.

Smart Beginnings Start with Families offers several resources that can be downloaded from www.smartbeginnings.org:
• A tip sheet of suggested activities and parenting tips to help young children be better prepared to start kindergarten healthy and ready to learn
• A series of five short write-ups about how schools, libraries, child care providers and health care professionals can support families with young children within the community
• A Facebook cover banner that can be posted and shared throughout the campaign

"We are delighted to partner with VECF on this innovative initiative to honor families and recognize the pivotal role of parental guidance in the lives of young children," said Dr. Sandra "Sandy" Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. "One way to celebrate Smart Beginnings Start with Families is for parents to enroll their children in the summer reading program sponsored by their local library. Even the youngest child enjoys being read to and looking at picture books with an adult. Reading helps children discover and understand how the world works."

"Since Smart Beginnings Start with Families is bookended by Mother's Day and Father's Day, it's an ideal time to renew our collective commitment to support families with young children at all levels of community involvement, including business leaders, elected officials, libraries, healthcare and social service agencies, among other stakeholders," said Kathy Glazer, president of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. "During this special time, we salute moms, dads, grandparents and other family members across the Commonwealth in their efforts to provide children with a strong foundation for school, life and workforce success."

For more information about Smart Beginnings Start with Families, visit www.smartbeginnings.org.

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