What is Keystone STARS?
Keystone STARS is a tool to help you understand the quality of an early learning program. Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Keystone STARS is a voluntary program that awards different levels of performance from a STAR 1 to STAR 4 level for child care, based on four areas of quality standards:
Staff education: early childhood teachers have the training and knowledge for working with young children
Learning environment: the program has a variety of materials and activities for each age level that makes it possible for children to learn something new every day!
Leadership and management: a quality program has to have sound business practices to ensure your child’s safety and early learning
Family and community partnerships: Parents and community members are encouraged to become a part of the child’s learning progress
What to expect at First Friends, a STAR 4 program:
• At least half of lead teachers have a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education; all have or are working towards an Associate’s degree.
• The director holds a meeting with families when a child enrolls, provides daily updates and offers three teacher conferences to share the child’s progress each year.
• Teachers assess children’s development three times a year, the first within 45 days of enrollment.
• Teachers use the PA Early Learning Standards to develop curriculum and assessment.
• Programs receive independent evaluation of their classroom setup and learning activities using a standardized tool (Environment Rating Scale).
• Teachers will meet with each family to make the child’s transition to the next classroom easier (babies to toddlers; toddlers to preschool; preschool to kindergarten).
• Staff receives six employee benefits, such as health insurance, which helps reduce staff turnover.
• Staff completes continuing education each year.
Where your child spends his day can affect his learning for life! Keystone STARS helps families find – and afford – quality early learning for their children. Count the STARS. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
First Friends is proud to be a STAR 4! The highest level of educational quality. And one of the few in our local area.