Quality Rating Improvement System
This initiative is a system to assess, improve and communicate the level of quality in early care and education settings that families consider for their children. CYFS has participated as a pilot site in this voluntary state wide initiative since 2007.
The Virginia Star Quality Initiative not only defines standards for early childhood education and creates a framework for accountability, but it also establishes a network of support and outreach for programs and providers, provides incentives linked to achieving and maintaining quality standards, and improves information available to parents.
The Virginia Star Quality Initiative features four standard areas for programs, which will be rated on a five-star scale of increasing quality. The four standards in the Star Quality Initiative are: education, qualifications and training of staff; interactions between children and their teachers and peers; staff to child ratios and group size; and program environment and instructional practices. These standards have been selected as a result of a thorough review of research and best practices in other states. A strong body of research suggests that early learning programs that focus on improvements aligned with these four standards yield positive outcomes for children. A copy of the standard for center-based programs can be downloaded below.
Programs that volunteer to participate are assessed by trained and experienced Star Quality Raters, who are regularly tested for consistency and reliability. A thorough documentation review and on-site visits are conducted to determine which Star level a facility will receive, providing a consistent measure of program quality and clear information and accountability for parents. This user-friendly rating is a powerful consumer education tool for families, informing them about quality as they consider options for their children's earliest learning experiences. After a program has been rated, they work with Star Quality Mentors to draft and implement a quality improvement plan to help them improve their quality.
More information on The Virginia Star Quality Initiative
More on Smart Beginnings
To find a local participating center, search the online database.
To inquire about participating contact Gail Esterman at 296-4118 x 228