EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND QUALITY CARE
- Studies show that birth to age five is the most critical stage in a child’s growth and learning.
- As much as 90% of the human brain develops in these early years.
- Quality early learning experiences can build a foundation for success in school and later in life.
- Research shows children living in poverty are less likely to be successful in school and less likely to be gainfully employed over their lifetimes.
- Experiences in high quality child care settings can have especially profound impacts on low income children.
WHY CHOOSE QUALITY CHILD CARE?
- Fewer behavior problems
- Strengthened school readiness
- Greater thinking skills
- Better attention skills
- Higher achievement scores
- Enhanced academic performance
- Better relationships with peers
ENCOURAGE YOUR CLIENTS TO BE INFORMED WHEN CHOOSING QUALITY CHILD CARE
- Call the toll-free Statewide Child Care Resource and Referral hotline at 1-800-438-0008 for English or (405) 525-8783 for Spanish Callers.
- Visit the DHS Child Care Locator where parents may view the monitoring visit history for each provider.
- Call for a time to visit each facility.
When visiting a provider, encourage your clients to ask questions!
Group Size: How many children are in the group that my child will be in?
Caregiver Qualifications: Ask about the caregivers’ training and education. Caregivers with degrees and/or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn.
Turnover: How long have the current caregivers been there? Stability in caregivers may enhance the child’s development and sense of well-being.
Star Ratings: What is the provider’s star rating? All licensed homes and centers are rated from 1-3 stars. The higher the star level, the higher the quality of care.
STARS RATINGS & QUALITY CARE
One Star: These programs are licensed centers and homes that meet minimum requirements set by DHS.
One Star Plus: These programs meet additional quality criteria, which includes additional training, reading to children daily, parent involvement and program assessment.
Two Star: These programs meet the One Star Plus & additional quality criteria or are nationally accredited. These homes/centers offer providers/teachers who have formal education & additional training in child development. Their space is arranged for a variety of activities including block building, dramatic play, art, science, math, music/movement, and reading to children.
Three Star: These programs are nationally accredited in addition to meeting Two Star requirements.
Other high quality options for families not eligible for child care subsidy
- for 4 year olds
- follow a set of organization-created teaching standards in shaping curriculum and instructional activities/goals.
- Free (through the public schools)
- Universal in Oklahoma (but may fill up quickly depending on the school district)
HEAD START/EARLY HEAD START
- The Head Start program (for three and four year olds) and Early Head Start program (birth to age three) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services
- Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment
- Family income must be at or below the US Poverty Income Guidelines
- Funding is limited (may have waiting lists)