Paths to Quality
Nationally, at least 14 states have implemented statewide Quality Rating Systems to address the importance of early learning. Quality Rating Systems are a vital informational tool for parents of young children to use as they make decisions about what early care settings are best for their family. Paths To Quality is an optional accreditation and was designed to do the following: Increase the quality of care for all children, provide parents with a method to make informed child care choices, support professional development activities of child care providers and recognize and reward providers who demonstrate commitment to continuous quality improvement of their early learning programs.
The standards for Paths to QUALITY are consistent but tailored for family child care homes and for licensed centers and unlicensed registered ministries. Paths to QUALITY is a system where each level builds on the foundation of the previous one, resulting in significant quality improvements at each stage and resulting in national accreditation at the highest level. The system validates programs and providers for ongoing efforts to achieve higher standards of quality and provides incentives and awards for success. The four levels address:
- Level One: Health and safety needs of children met.
- Level Two: Environment supports children’s learning.
- Level Three: Planned curriculum guides child development and school readiness.
- Level Four: National accreditation (the highest indicator of quality) is achieved.