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Keystone STARS

Keystone STARS is a quality rating system that promotes quality improvement in early learning and development programs and school-age child care. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment in which they are learning new things every day to support their current and future successes in school and in life.

Since the inception of the Keystone STARS program in 2002, the Performance Standards have been the bedrock of the program. The standards are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future. Therefore, the Keystone STARS Performance Standards reflect research-based practices to improve outcomes for children. The standards are organized into four STAR levels that build upon each other in order to support continuous quality improvement. When a program meets the Performance Standards for a STAR level, they receive the mark of quality, a STAR designation. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment.

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.

A vital part of Pennsylvania's early learning system, Keystone STARS works with programs, such as Head Start, school-aged programs, and programs certified by the Department of Human Services.

High quality early learning programs will offer your child a stimulating, nurturing environment which should help prepare them for school and to reach his or her full potential. Quality environments provide a stimulating, loving atmosphere in which children will thrive. The Performance Standards for Keystone STARS quality-rated providers are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future.