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Keystone STARS

keystone StarsKeystone STARS is a quality rating system that promotes quality improvement in early learning and school-age child care programs. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment in which they are learning new things every day to support their current and future successes in school and in life.

Early learning child care programs participating in Keystone STARS can earn a quality rating score from a STAR 1 to a STAR 4. At each level, programs must meet certain quality standards in four key areas: staff education, learning environment, leadership/management, and family/community partnerships. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality standards.

A vital part of Pennsylvania's early learning system, Keystone STARS works with child care programs, Head Start, school-aged programs, and programs certified by the Department of Public Welfare. Nearly 5,000 Keystone STARS programs are serving approximately 170,000 children from birth to age 12 in 2009-2010.

Keystone STARS provides Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources, and Support (STARS) to its child care providers for promoting continuous quality improvement. Child care providers participating in Keystone STARS receive the resources and training opportunities they need in order to achieve higher child care quality standards.

Quality child care will offer your child a stimulating, nurturing environment which should help prepare them for school and to reach his or her full potential. Quality care environments provide a stimulating, loving atmosphere in which children will mentally, socially, emotionally and physically thrive. The Performance Standards for Keystone STARS quality-rated child care providers are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future.

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Keystone STARS Standards

Since the inception of the Keystone STARS program in 2002, the Performance Standards have been the bedrock of the program. The standards are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future. Therefore, the Keystone STARS Performance Standards reflect research-based practices to improve outcomes for children. The standards are organized into four STAR levels that build upon each other in order to support continuous quality improvement. When a program meets the Performance Standards for a STAR level, they receive the mark of quality, a STAR designation. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment.