PA Keystone STARS

Early learning 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.

Keystone STARS helps families find quality early learning for their children. Keystone STARS programs meet quality standards on teacher qualifications, classroom and learning activities, family relations, and program management. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.

What to expect at a STAR 4 Program...

  • At least half of lead teachers have a Bachelor's degree in early childhood education, all have at least an Associate's degree.

  • Teachers hold a meeting with families when a child enrolls, provide daily updates and hold at least two teacher conference to share 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 kindergarten easier.

  • Staff receive at least four employee benefits, such as health insurance, which helps reduce staff turnover.

  • Staff complete continuing education each year.

View more about STARS at their website.

From the PA Keystone Stars website:

Keystone STARS is Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). A QRIS is a continuous quality improvement systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs. Keystone STARS is a program of Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).

Our Guiding Principles

Keystone STARS is a responsive system to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. Our system is guided by three core principles:

· A whole child approach to education is essential to meeting the holistic and individual needs of each and every child and family.

· Knowledgeable and responsive early care and education professionals are essential to the development of children and the support of families.

· Building and sustaining ongoing positive relationships among children, families, early care and education professionals and community stakeholders is essential for the growth and development of every child.

We believe inclusion, diversity, equity and respect are foundational values embedded in these principles.

Keystone STARS has four primary goals:

· To improve the quality of early care and education;

· To support early care and education providers in meeting their quality improvement goals;

· To recognize programs for continuous quality improvement and meeting higher quality standards; and

· To provide families a way to choose a quality early care and education program.

OCDEL’s Keystone STARS Program supports all early care and education programs to improve program quality. We encourage programs to think about the Keystone STARS Performance Standards as a tool to support continuous quality improvement (CQI) that impacts services to the children and families in your care.

Keystone STARS – Improving the quality through:

Standards Training/Professional Development Assistance, Resources and Support