Read This Before Selecting Child Care

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According to Williams, nearly 70 percent of homes have two parents who work at least part time, which has led to a jump in the number of kids in child care. Oklahoma is No. 1 in the nation in kids enrolled in preschool, which Williams says is reflective of parents in our communities expecting much more than just babysitters. Parents want learning environments that meet children’s developmental needs. The rise in the number of children in child care and parents’ increasing desire for enrichment for their children means the call for quality child care is also on the rise.

Oklahoma’s child care rating and improvement system is called “Reaching for the Stars” and is used to help parents evaluate child care and encourage continuous improvement among caregivers. Programs are ranked from one to three stars, and the ratings are based on: compliance with licensing regulations, education and training of caregivers, enriched learning environments for children, family engagement, administrative practices and participation in national accreditation programs. All licensed child care programs in Oklahoma automatically earn one star, and a program must meet all criteria at one level before moving up to the next.

One Star Programs:

  • Have a license
  • Will have unannounced inspections at least three times per year
  • Have basic standards for health and safety and limits on the number of children in care
  • Caregivers undergo criminal background checks, have at least a GED and earn at least 12 hours of training per year

One Star Plus Programs:

  • Meet all one star requirements and are working toward two star rating
  • Have higher education and training requirements for caregivers
  • Offer enriched learning environments for children, including lesson plans, outdoor play and reading to children daily
  • Have family engagement and communication systems in place
  • Have a membership on a professional development registry

Two Star Programs:

  • Meet all one star and one star plus requirements
  • In child care centers, one master teacher is employed for every 20 children; all family child care providers meet the same requirements as master teachers
  • Master teachers have 15 college credit hours in early childhood education or have completed an approved credentialing program
  • Have higher training requirements for caregivers
  • Include enriched interest centers for children
  • Complete a program assessment as part of the program evaluation process
  • Have improved family engagement and communication, as well as administrative practices

Three Star Programs:

  • Meet all one star, one star plus, two star requirements AND are accredited by an approved accrediting body

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