Children, Inc. believes high quality child care is a right not a privilege. This belief has driven the organization to operate 10 Five Star rated programs, 9 in Kentucky All STARS Quality Rating System and 1 in Ohio’s Step Up To Quality Rating System. This Five star system is regulated by the state and stands as an outside entity that rates all child care centers to ensure quality guidelines are followed throughout the state.
Currently, only 39 private child care facilities in the Commonwealth of Kentucky hold a Five Star rating, meaning 25% of the highest quality facilities in Kentucky are operated by Children, Inc.
Shannon Starkey-Taylor, Chief Operating Officer for Children, Inc. commented, “We are overjoyed that Children, Inc. is now up to 10 five star rated centers. We are still waiting on final reports to be received for other centers so this number will definitely grow.” Starkey-Taylor also spoke about the importance for all child care centers to provide high quality care, “we are passionate about high quality options being available for all families. This program allows any child care facility to learn their strengths and weaknesses from a qualified, unbiased rating system.”
The rating system scores facilities in on a variety of quality components. The scoring system is 1-5 with less than 2% of child care facilities being at the 5 star level. The quality ratings are as follows:
Family and Community Engagement
When the STARS rater observes your child’s classroom they are looking for ways that classroom engages families in what their children are learning each day. For example, a STARS rater hopes to see teachers supporting the children and families through transitions, posting lesson plans and menus and have systems in place to communicate with families each day. There are also community agencies resources available to parents.
Classroom and Instructional Quality
The STARS System ensures that the classroom is a positive place of learning. When observing a classroom the rater will look to see if your child’s teacher is planning activities that will aid the children in learning and see if there are screenings in place to assess your child’s development. After assessments, if your child’s teacher has concerns in one or more areas of development the teacher will create an individual learning plan (ILP) and work one on one with that child. The rater ensures that the curriculum being used aligns with Kentucky Early Learning Standards (KYEL), checks to see if teachers have lessons based on the assessments of the children both individually and as a group, and that the teachers share the assessments with the families. The rater also looks at the actual physical makeup of the center (wall art, tables, spacing, etc.). Lastly the rater will see if the center is nationally accredited.
Staff Qualifications and PD
Kentucky All STARS ensures that center employees have relevant education levels and annual professional training hours. STARS ensures that the center director has at least 10 hours of professional learning per year, or has an approved early childhood credential or degree, and obtains the Kentucky Director Credential or an administrator certificate. Teaching staff must have 10 hours of professional learning per year, an early childhood credential, or a related degree. All staff must have training hours annually.
Administrative and Leadership Practices
To have quality programming teachers and center directors must plan appropriately. STARS makes sure that your child’s teacher is given time dedicated to create weekly lesson plans, looks at the system the center has in evaluating staff performance and giving them feedback, and has an improvement plan in place for teachers. The STARS rating system also checks that employees are offered benefits (health insurance, PTO, retirement plan, etc.).
Kentucky All STARS Quality Rating System is put into place to ensure Kentucky’s childcare/preschool centers offer families the very best.
Heather Gerker, Senior Director of Programs stated, “Children, Inc. strives to meet the highest standards in early childhood education by partnering with families to help give children a solid foundation on which to build a lifetime of success. KY All STARS helps us to maintain this goal in our classrooms every day, we are proud to be STAR rated”
For more information please visit, kentuckyallstars.org