A quality early learning program - in child care, Head Start, or preschool - will help prepare your child for success in school and in life.
Here are things to look for when choosing your child’s early learning program:
Is this person or program a safe place for children? Does it meet the necessary regulations? Have there been any complaints against this program? Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare (DPW) regulates child care programs (family child care homes, group child care homes and child care centers) to make sure they meet minimum health and safety standards. Programs are required to post their certificate of registration or compliance, so if you don't see it, ask about it.
Does the child care or Head Start program participate in Keystone STARS? Programs in Keystone STARS earn a STAR 1 up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. Count the Stars - the more STARS, the higher the quality.
Do teachers have training in early childhood education? Teachers in quality programs have education in child development, such as a Child Development Associate (CDA), Associate's or Bachelor's degree.
Does the program provide activities appropriate for your child's age and development? Teachers should observe your child's skill level and provide activities that will help your child grow.
Does the program keep families involved in their child's progress? Quality programs will talk with you about how your child is learning and suggest ways you can help your child learn at home.
Are the children happy and involved? Learning should be fun!
Count the STARS. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.