Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Keystone STARS rates participating child care and Head Start programs from STAR 1 to STAR 4 for meeting quality standards for teacher qualifications, learning environment, family involvement, and program management. STAR ratings offers families a way to evaluate the quality of child care programs, so that they can make an informed decision that best suits their needs, as well as the needs of their children. Programs may receive additional supports to help them move up the STARS quality ladder.
“We are thrilled that our work supporting quality early childhood services has helped child care programs to achieve a higher STAR 3 or 4 quality rating! These programs understand the importance of providing quality to their families, and we applaud them for their efforts to provide all children with a safe and happy learning experience that prepares them for success in school and life,” said Raine Neal, Northeast Regional Key Director.
At least half of lead teachers in STAR 4 centers and group child care homes must have a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. The following programs have been awarded with the highest STAR 4 quality rating between July and October 2016:
All lead teachers in a STAR 3 centers and group child care homes must have an Associate’s degree in early childhood education. The following programs have been awarded with a STAR 3 quality rating between July and October 2016:
At both Keystone STAR 3 and 4 programs, the teachers are required to assess children’s skills three times a year, and hold at least two family conferences each year to discuss the child’s progress and behavioral, social and physical needs.
Families may search for Keystone STARS programs in their area using the state’s COMPASS website. A tutorial on how to use the site is available at www.papromiseforchildren.com/COMPASS or visit CSC/Northeast Key website for a list of the STAR 3 and STAR 4 programs in the region.
A statewide initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, in coordination with the Northeast Regional Key, programs participating in Keystone STARS receive training to advance staff education, technical assistance to help them meet STAR level requirements, and additional resources through support grants and merit awards to support continued quality improvements. As STAR levels increase from a STAR 1 through a STAR 4, so do the requirements for meeting higher standards of quality.
Community Services for Children is the parent organization for the PA Northeast Regional Key. The Regional Key coordinates and administers the Keystone STARS program, which is intended to improve the quality of early learning and school-age care and education. The Northeast Regional Key also provides many programs and supports for early learning and school-age programs including; professional development, technical assistance, financial supports and Keystone STARS. The Northeast Regional Key offers supports to 1,147 child care programs in 16 counties in the Northeast Region including: Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming. Please contact 800-528-7222 for information about Keystone STARS or any of our support services.