The Keystone STARS program, which stands for Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources was introduced in 2002 by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support, and recognize a continuous quality improvement efforts of the early learning programs in Pennsylvania.
The Keystone STARS program is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and is further administered by six “Regional Keys” or child care resource developers in the state of Pennsylvania. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents and caregivers that their children are in a safe, positive environment that supports their current and future academic and personal growth.
A child’s early education is crucial to his/her personal development and future academic success. Keystone STARS sets requirements for early childhood educators to promote the most effective and beneficial learning environment in a safe and positive setting for children. Children who attend quality early learning programs benefit in several ways, such as:
The program’s STAR levels are based on the quality standards in four key areas with requirements increasing in each area for each STAR level.
A program can earn and progress from STAR 1 to a STAR 4 level. At each level, a center has to meet certain research-based best practices, where each STAR level builds on the previous one.
Numerous early childhood programs in Pennsylvania use HiMama in their licensed child care facilities to meet expectations set out by the Keystone STARS program. Each program applies HiMama in different ways to assist them with alignment to the core foundations of: staff education, learning environment, leadership and management, and family/community partnerships.
How your center chooses to use HiMama will vary based on the unique circumstances of your community, families, educators and attending children. However, we’ve provided some guidance on how HiMama will assist your early childhood program in meeting the expectations set out by the four foundations of the Keystone STARS program.
|KEY AREAS||REQUIREMENTS||STAR 4 LEVEL||HIMAMA APPLICATION|
|Staff Qualifications & Professional Development||The early childhood educators have appropriate training, experience and knowledge for working with young children.||
|Early Learning Program||The early childhood program has a variety of materials and activities for each age level , which allows children to expand their learning abilities on the daily basis.||
|Leadership & Management||The early childhood center has a set of established business practices to ensure child’s safety and optimal early learning||
|Partnerships with Family & Community||The early childhood program encourages parents, caregivers and community members to become a part of the child's learning||
To find a Keystone STARS program near you, a parent or caregiver can visit Pennsylvania’s COMPASS website, click on “Find a Provider” and select the option they are looking for in a center. The advanced search functionality not only allows you to select providers by age and location, but also by program, schedule, environment, transportation and available financial assistance.
HiMama makes documentation and reporting of children’s learning and development in alignment with Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood quick and easy so that educators can spend less time on documentation and paperwork and more time with children. Learn how HiMama can help you align to Pennsylvania quality guidelines without all the paperwork and late nights.