MOM'S INC. Preschool and Childcare center in Lock Haven now boasts a Star 3 rating, out of a possible four stars, for our childcare center. The rating is determined by Keystone STARS, a state wide quality control agency that grades early learning childcare programs in five critical areas: standards, training/professional development, assistance, resources, and support. The MOM'S INC. center is the highest rated childcare facility in Lock Haven.
To obtain a Star 3 rating is not an easy task. During the past few weeks, Keystone STARS officials visited the center several times, with each visit date unannounced. At the first visit, officials thoroughly examined staff files, ensuring that a large number of staff are either enrolled or have degrees relating to early childhood education, along with appropriate and on-going staff trainings, like CPR and First Aid certifications for everyone. In subsequent visits, Keystone STARS officials sat in on randomly chosen classrooms, spending time afterwards questioning teachers and management staff on policies, community partnerships utilized to support families and provide resources utilized, lesson plan development and implementation, safety and security precautions, hygiene standards and so on.
The results of these visits were rewarding for staff and families, who work year round to constantly improve the quality and effectiveness of MOM'S INC. services. Due to the hard work of both staff and parents, the report found that MOM'S INC. is no longer performing at their prior Star 2 rating, but now as a Star 3 center.
Each star level requires that a center meet certain research-based quality standards, and as the rating increases so do the stipulations. A Star 3 designation indicates that: staff level of education in early childhood related degrees is high; learning materials and literacy programs are active parts of every classroom every day; parent involvement is high with frequent communication regarding a child's well-being, daily activities and behaviors; community partnerships exist that provide additional resources and support outside the normal purview of a childcare center; staff attend monthly trainings to continuously expand their knowledge base in early childhood education; and that all staff receive benefits not commonly found in the childcare industry.
The Keystone STARS program and those centers who wish to participate in their rating system recognize that it takes a village to raise a child, which is why there is such a focus on not just improving the on-going training and education levels of teachers, but also parent and wider community involvement with early childhood education.