Vesta L. Jackson, 64, a former nursery school teacher who also had been active in Head Start and other programs for small children, died Monday at the Washington Hospital Center of cardiovascular disease.

Mrs. Jackson was born in Coatesville, Pa., and grew up there and in Philadelphia. She attended Delaware State College and graduated from Virginia State College with a degree in home economics. She was named "Miss Virginia State" in 1939.

For the next two years, she taught in Sedalia, N.C. Following her marriage in 1941 to Dr. Edward L. Jackson, the couple lived in Charlotte, N.C.They moved to Washington in 1945, when Dr. Jackson joined the faculty of Howard University. In 1956, they moved to Tuskegee, Ala. During her Washington years, Mrs. Jackson was active in the Cub Scouts.

Mrs. Jackson was a nursery school teacher at Tuskegee Institute for about three years beginning in 1960. She then worked in the Head Start program until 1968.

In 1974, the family returned to Washington. Mrs. Jackson was a member of the American Association of University Women and the Peoples Congregational Church.

In addition to her husband, of Washington, survivors include a son, Dr. Edward L. Jr., of Newton, Mass., a daughter, Marion Bigelow of Falls Church, and three granddaughters.