Excellence in Children’s Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL)

United Way of Central Virginia, in partnership with Smart Beginnings Central Virginia, as part of the newly-named Central Virginia School Readiness Initiative is proud to be entering into its third year of the Excellence in Children’s Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL) for four-year children in the counties of Amherst and Bedford, with a plan to begin roll-out in AY 2017-18 in Campbell County.

ExCELL does not replace the schools’ current curriculum, but enhances it and is a program that brings together families, early childhood education, community resources, and early literacy specialists with the goal of ensuring that children receive the learning opportunities (at home, at preschool, and in the community) necessary to develop critical early learning language and literacy skills known to predict later reading success.

Early outcomes from the first years of the program are strong, with 96% of children (all are deemed at-risk) entering kindergarten “ready” and 86% of those entering kindergarten “advanced.” The goal of the program funded is to help increase the school readiness of children, thus helping move the needle towards the Central Virginia School Readiness Initiative’s goal of 94% of area children entering kindergarten “ready” by 2025. Currently only 86% of Central Virginia children enter kindergarten “ready”, with 14%  having Fall Pals-K scores below kindergarten readiness levels.

The ExCELL program is managed by UWCV’s lead School Readiness Partner, Smart Beginnings of Central Virginia. For more information about the statewide ExCELL program, visit www.excell-va.com.

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