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About Us


About Us

Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater was founded in 2008 as a multi-jurisdictional nonprofit supported by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation as part of the statewide Early Childhood Initiative. The organization began as a convener for a community network representing various agencies and organizations that impact local early childhood development. In 2021, the VECF reimagined early childhood systems building with a regional approach, Ready Regions, to ensure that every Virginia community benefit and have access to quality child care services.

In recongition of the evolution and phase out of the Smart Beginnings brand, the organization changed its name to Early Childhood Western Tidewater (ECWT) on July 1, 2023. Early Childhood Western Tidewater will continue to support boots-on-the-ground early childhood efforts in the City of Franklin, Isle of Wight County, and Southampton County via the mission to champion quality early childhood experiences in our community.

Guiding Principles

Public and Private Partnerships – The mission and vision are community owned and resources are leveraged from both public and private sources recognizing that key leaders and decision makers share responsibility and accountability for breaking down barriers and developing a cohesive early childhood system.

Inclusion – Emphasis on authentic engagement of families who are recipients of early childhood services – especially prioritizing children and families who live in adverse circumstances.

Quality and Continuous Improvement - A commitment to evidence-based programs and practices that demonstrate knowledge of the best available research regarding children, families, and community.

Data-informed decision-making - Community level data, including both quantitative and qualitative data, is essential for making wise investments of resources in early childhood.

Non-partisan community “convener” - The recognition that the development of healthy children requires impartial engagement of multiple stakeholders including parents, business, faith community, government, and nonprofit sectors.