boys on playground

A Note from our Head of School

Val Wise Portrait

For almost 90 years NCRC has created an inspiring and captivating preschool learning environment. NCRC ignites our children's imaginations and provides them with opportunities to grow and discover themselves and the ever-changing world around them. We realize that a great early childhood education is the solid foundation on which a child builds their future. NCRC’s mission-driven inclusion model and diverse school community make it a truly remarkable place.

NCRC’s highly trained faculty and staff are some of the most talented in the nation. They are dedicated to early childhood and recognize the importance of this magical time in the life of a child.

Founded on the premise that current research should inform practice, NCRC’s dynamic preschool learning environment extends to the faculty and staff, who stay abreast of current best practices and compelling areas of early childhood research. This thirst for professional knowledge, coupled with the creativity and dedication of NCRC faculty, makes us a model preschool. Your child is guided each and every day they walk into NCRC by men and women who understand the theory behind the power of play and are passionate about what they do.

NCRC nurtures empathy, kindness, self-awareness, mindfulness, and joy. We believe each child is unique and we meet children where they are, giving them the tools they need to succeed every day and throughout life. Our faculty and staff are only part of our success equation. Our preschool community also includes an active parent body that is always engaged and encouraged to participate fully in experiences that will shape their child for years to come.

Early childhood is all we do and we are very good at it.

I welcome you to NCRC and invite you to experience the wonder of play with us.

Val Wise Signature

Dr. Valaida Wise, Ed.D.

NCRC Head of School

About Dr. Valaida Wise


Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is the Head of School at the National Child Research Center (NCRC) in Washington, D.C. An educator for almost 20 years, Val received a Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from Syracuse University, an M.A.T. from Trinity College, Washington D.C., and holds a doctorate in Education from George Washington University.

A recent Brava award winner, Val has lectured nationally and internationally, most recently on the topic of early childhood education at Tanjian University and other provinces in China. She presented at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2013 national conference as well as other conferences sponsored by NAIS. Val has written several articles on educational leadership in early childhood as well as Montessori Education. Her most recent article: A Critical Absence in the Field of Educational Administration: Framing the (Missing) Discourse of Leadership in Early Childhood appears in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation. Val is an adjunct professor at several area universities where she has presented on the implications of current findings in neuroscience in early childhood education as well as diversity in clinical practice. She is a trustee on several professional and independent school boards. Val is married with 3 children.


2015-2016 speaker/presenter
  • Importance of diversity in clinical practice at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis
  • Engaging all families: Successfully including parents of children with special needs in a preschool community at the Zero to Three conference
  • Foundations of Resilience: Understanding and nurturing resilience in the preschool years at the McLean School
  • The role of father figures in children at The World Organization for Early Childhood Conference
  • The Alumni Panel at the George Washington University's Educational Syposium on Research and Innovation
  • Potomac Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.'s fall workshop
  • Diamonds in the Rough Conference

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