Skip navigation

TCC receives grant to improve early childhood education

Tidewater Community College will continue to lead efforts to improve early childhood education, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services.

TCC is the Eastern Region lead for Virginia Quality, the statewide early childhood program. The college has received $184,093 for fiscal year 2017 to continue to work with its partners to:

  • promote and increase the availability of quality early care to families and children in the Eastern Region, especially for at-risk and high-need children and families;
  • assess early care and education programs on four nationally recognized quality standards and best practices included in the Virginia Quality framework;
  • support programs via regional quality improvement strategies to build knowledge and advance quality for all children; and
  • communicate the importance of high quality early childhood experiences to families and provide resources on kindergarten transition.

“While TCC’s primary focus remains higher education, the college’s future and the future of Hampton Roads lie in investing in our young children, both academically and socially for school and, ultimately, the workplace,” said TCC President Edna Baehre-Kolovani.

“We are grateful for this grant that allows us to continue our commitment to preparing children to be successful in the classroom and in their community.”

TCC’s many partners in this effort include:

  • Eastern Shore and Paul D. Camp community colleges;
  • Smart Beginnings in Western Tidewater and the Eastern Shore;
  • early childhood coalitions in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach;
  • The Planning Council; and
  • Children’s Harbor in Portsmouth.

The state’s voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System assures parents that their children’s day care centers and preschools have qualified teachers and caregivers and enriching programs.

Virginia Quality focuses on continuous quality improvement, recognizes the importance of early childhood education and supports programs with tools and services to achieve excellence.

Among the regional Virginia Quality milestones achieved:

  • supporting TCC and Paul D. Camp students in course work toward the Career Studies Certificate in Child Development
  • establishing learning communities and professional development opportunities for the early childhood workforce
  • sponsoring joint outreach events with Eastern Shore Community College, Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore and local departments of social services

“The daily work of early care and education programs impacts not just the families they serve, but the future of our community,” said TCC’s Sarah Gunnell, Eastern Region quality coordinator.

“It is a privilege to be able to continue to support the development of those caring for our youngest citizens.”

TCC has been involved in Virginia Quality, previously named Virginia Quality Rating & Improvement System, since 2005. 

TCC’s Educational Foundation raises additional funds to support the program. For information, visit For information on Virginia Quality at TCC, visit