Virginia's First Lady Pamela Northam announced on Thursday Virginia received a $9.9 million competitive federal grant for preschool development.

The grant, Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families was award to the Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, and the University of Virginia.

The federal funds will be used by Virginia's Department of Education and its partners to support statewide programs and initiatives that boost Virginia's early education system. The initiatives include producing a statewide needs assessment and strategic plan, aligning early learning standards, and developing kindergarten-readiness tools for teachers and families.

“Every child in Virginia is capable of entering kindergarten ready with the skills they need to succeed in school, regardless of who they are or where they live,” said First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam. “This grant will enable our innovative local leaders and teachers to build skills, engage families in their children’s learning and development, and measure progress all while being financially rewarded for their efforts.”

Almost $4 million of the funding will be used to support educators across the Commonwealth. The funds will support initiatives in ten innovative communities to unify child care, Head Start, and pre-K at the local level.

The funding will also help evaluate 1,000 public infant, toddler, and pre-K classrooms to understand what is needed. The effort will be to include all infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms in publicly funded early childhood programs, including family day homes, child care, Head Start and schools.

Click here to learn more about the grant.