Virginia first lady tours local preschools

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Virginia first lady Pamela Northam toured three preschools in the Charlottesville area on Tuesday.

Northam’s tour focused on high-quality early education.

“The governor recently signed an executive directive really looking at the underserved population of threes and fours to expand care and education quality opportunities,” she said.

The tour was a partnership with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, Virginia Department of Social Services and the Virginia Department of Education and hosted by the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area.

The tour started at Barrett Early Learning Center.

It is the oldest child care center in the Commonwealth, according to Barrett Early Learning Center's website.

"We are thrilled to be at terrific schools like Barrett. [They] have such high-quality care for their children. They are one of the oldest [preschools] Virginia, in this darling little house but they are doing a great job with their children,” said Northam.

The first lady spent time going from room to room to interact with the children at Barrett Early Learning Center.

She even engaged the children by reading to them.

The next tour stops were Piedmont YMCA Early Learning Center, located in the historic Jefferson School City Center, and Jefferson Area Board Aging’s Shining Stars Preschool.

The three local preschools involved participated in the Local Preschool Development Grant administered by United Way.

“Building out a robust accessible affordable early education system is a priority I think for all Virginians. The United Way has been leading a coalition in the Charlottesville area to expand access and quality and affordability for early care,” said United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area Board Chair Mike Chinn.

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