Selecting a child care program is a significant decision for #parents, and the quality of #early-education and school-age care plays a pivotal role in a child's #development. In Georgia, the Quality Rated Child Care program stands as a beacon of excellence, offering a systematic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the quality of child care programs. This article delves into the importance of child care programs becoming Georgia Quality Rated and outlines the steps involved in achieving this prestigious status.
What is Quality Rated Child Care?
Quality Rated is Georgia's pioneering system designed to evaluate, enhance, and communicate the quality of child care programs. Similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels, Quality Rated assigns one, two, or three stars to early education and school-age care programs based on their adherence to or surpassing minimum state requirements. Participation in Georgia's voluntary Quality Rated program signifies a commitment by child care providers to continually enhance the quality of care provided to children and families.
Assurance for Parents and Families
Quality Rated provides parents and families with greater confidence in their child care choices by involving independent, credentialed experts in early education to assess program quality. These experts evaluate whether programs follow best practices, including:
- Qualified and Well-Trained Teachers:
- Safe, Healthy, and Caring Environment:
- Maintaining a secure, #healthy, and nurturing setting for children.
- Individualized Instruction:
- Implementing personalized instruction tailored to each child's needs.
- Kindergarten-Preparatory Curriculum:
- Offering a curriculum that adequately prepares children for kindergarten.
- Active Learning and Social-Emotional Development:
- Focusing on both active learning and social-emotional development.
- Engaging Families:
- Establishing strong partnerships and #engagement with families.
- Low Teacher-Student Ratio:
Choosing a child care provider is a critical decision, and research indicates that high-quality early care and learning programs contribute significantly to a child's readiness for school. Georgia's Quality Rating and Improvement System empowers parents to identify and select programs that meet these high-quality standards.
Importance for Child Care Providers: Eligibility for CAPS Funding
Participating in the Quality Rated program is not only beneficial for families but is also essential for child care providers. In order to continue receiving Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) funding, eligible providers must achieve and maintain Quality Rated status. This requirement underscores the state's commitment to ensuring that funding supports programs dedicated to delivering exceptional care and education to children.
What Makes Quality Rated Child Care Different?
Quality Rated differentiates itself by individually assessing each early care and learning program. Programs submit portfolios highlighting compliance with defined quality standards in areas such as family partnerships, teaching practices, and #staff-qualifications. Credentialed experts conduct assessments using internationally valid environment rating scales to evaluate the #classroom-environment and staff/child interactions. The overall quality rating, ranging from one to three stars, is then assigned based on the portfolio and observation results.
While all Quality Rated programs exhibit high quality, the stars provide additional information:
- One Star: Demonstrates a commitment to exceeding state #health-and #safety requirements, meets several quality benchmarks, and scores sufficiently on the independent observation.
- Two Stars: Demonstrates a commitment to exceeding state #health-and-safety requirements, meets many quality benchmarks, and scores well on the independent observation.
- Three Stars: Demonstrates a commitment to exceeding state health and safety requirements, meets numerous quality benchmarks, and scores high on the independent observation.
Three Steps to Become Quality Rated
Child care providers interested in achieving Quality Rated status can follow a streamlined process consisting of three key steps:
- Create an account, complete a brief application with program demographic information, and register for the Quality Rated Orientation.
- Earn points by submitting evidence of teaching staff credentials and training, commitment to child health and physical activity, family engagement practices, instructional and curriculum approaches, and adherence to classroom ratios and group sizes.
- Earn points based on the support provided for children's reasoning skills, social-emotional development, #language acquisition, and #school-readiness. Undergo an Environment Rating Scale (ERS) observation within 90 days of portfolio acceptance, with subsequent ratings received within 60 days.
ChildCareEd supports Georgia Providers in becoming Quality Rated
ChildCareEd is an Approved Training Sponsor Organization in the GaPDS. Courses are approved by Georgia’s Bright from the Start to be used toward preservice and annual training hours for those who work in child care learning centers and family child care learning homes. This includes directors, #teachers, #lead teachers, lead caregivers, caregivers, aides, provisional employees, and providers. ChildCareEd approved courses can be found on the Georgia Professional Development System (GAPDS) TR-ASO-76. Users may purchase approved courses through the ChildCareEd website.
Taking a Step Up in Quality
Becoming Georgia Quality Rated is a commendable pursuit for child care programs aiming to provide exceptional services to children and families. The process not only assures parents of the program's quality but also ensures continued eligibility for critical funding. By following the three steps outlined – application, portfolio creation, and assessment – child care providers can embark on a journey toward excellence, contributing to the overall betterment of early education and school-age care in the state of Georgia. Let ChildCareEd help you achieve Quality Rated status!