SYSTEM FOR RATING QUALITY OF CHILDCARE LEADS TO QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
Indiana, USA. April, 2012 - Indiana parents are giving high marks to the state's new childcare quality rating system, and many participating child-care programmes are improving their quality of care thanks to the programme's resources, a Purdue University study reports.
"A quality rating system like this depends on public awareness to be successful, and public awareness seems to be growing," associate professor of human development and family studies James Elicker said.
Elicker led the evaluation of Indiana's new four-level quality rating and improvement system that is available to more than 4,200 childcare providers that care for more than 159,000 children.
The study found the system to be an informative resource for parents, and it also encourages providers to improve their quality rating, which can lead to better childcare environments and child learning. Childcare providers also praised the mentoring opportunities co-ordinated by the state.
Indiana's statewide rating system, similar to a hotel star rating system, is just a few years old, but it motivates various centres and providers to improve child care," Elicker said.
The rating system, Paths to QUALITY, offers four rating levels for licensed childcare centres; licensed family home providers; and unlicensed, registered childcare ministries. Level 1 means that the provider meets the requirements for state licensing, which includes proper adult and child ratios, programme development, and adherence to fire and safety guidelines. Levels 2 and 3 focus on improvements in facilities' physical environment and educational opportunities, respectively. Level 4, the highest level, includes national accreditation criteria.
For more info, see Portagelife.com.