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What is Wisconsin’s YoungStar Program?

What is Wisconsin’s YoungStar Program?

March 7, 2017 | By Tom Tu
Administered by the Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), YoungStar is Wisconsin’s quality rating and improvement system. This program seeks to improve the quality of care for the state’s youngest children and provide an easy tool for parents to compare their local child care options.

Try a free tour of the HiMama app, which excels at saving teachers time by eliminating paperwork, creating digital portfolios and increasing parent engagement. While we aren't directly connected with the Department of Children & Families or its Youngstar program, we love what they're doing and are dedicated to improving outcomes for children and centers in the state of Wisconsin!

Why is YoungStar important?

Studies show again and again the lifelong benefits of quality child care in an early child’s life. These lifelong benefits include being more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to engage in criminal activity, and earning higher wages throughout their lifetime. Language, math, and socio-emotional skills are also positively influenced by quality child care experiences.

The YoungStar program was established to improve the overall quality of child care in the state so that more children can reap the long-term benefits cited in studies. To achieve this, the program:

  • Created financial incentives that encourage providers to improve the quality of care to children
  • Gives parents the information they need to make informed child care decisions for their children
  • Developed an objective method by which to measure the quality of child care providers

What are YoungStar requirements?

Child care providers earn points toward a star rating based on four key areas of care:

These four areas of care make up the 40-point evaluation process used to determine the star rating of the child care provider. A provider can earn and progress from one star to five stars.

HiMama + Wisconsin’s YoungStar Program

Numerous early childhood programs in Wisconsin use HiMama in their licensed child care facilities to meet expectations set out by the YoungStar program. 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 achieving a higher rating.

The Provider’s Education & Training
  • Increase retention of high-level staff through teacher empowerment
  • Staff is applying mobile technology in the classroom to better align with expectations of the families
  • Provides professional growth and development activities, through numerous HiMama resources, including weekly blog articles, weekly podcasts for leaders in early childhood education, white papers and reports
  • Components of staff performance can be evaluated through the HiMama app, including classroom documentation quality and interactions with families
  • The Children’s Health & Well-being
  • Children’s health and well-being is tracked through the HiMama app, including illnesses and injuries
  • Easily plan menus and weekly lesson plans (based on developmental domains)
  • Easily add health notes (e.g. allergies), immunization records, as well as any other health records/documents to each child’s online profile
  • The Learning Environment & Curriculum
  • Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) are accessible for child care and early learning programs directly through the HiMama app, enabling assistance with lesson planning, developmental observations, online portfolios and development reports
  • HiMama electronic portfolios and development assessment reports can be shared with parents on an as-needed basis or by the schedule set by the early learning center / program
  • Visual documentation of classroom activities assists in evaluation of classroom setup and learning activities
  • Assess gaps in programming across learning domains
  • The Program’s Professional & Business Practices
  • The HiMama application saves on average 5 hours per teacher per week. Therefore, teachers can dedicate more time to observing and promoting interactions in the classroom that spur developmental growth for children.
  • Intuitive lesson planning features empower teachers to be organized and follow through on their lesson plans to maximize children’s learning experiences.
  • HiMama enables early childhood programs to connect parents with the classroom by inviting them to participate in children’s experiences and in turn build all around trusting partnerships
  • Parents receive automatic individual updates and reports about their child’s experience and development in the early childhood program, including assessments to reflect on a child’s readiness for transitions to new programs or into school age programs
  • HiMama has created a parent handbook template that includes risk management strategies and communication plans

  • How do I find the closest child care provider with a YoungStar rating?

    To find a YoungStar provider near you, a parent or caregiver can visit Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families website.

      HiMama makes documentation and reporting of children’s learning and development in alignment with Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) quick and easy so that educators can spend less time on documentation and paperwork and more time with children.

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