I’m looking for a child care center, what certifications should I be looking for? Do they even matter?

Certifications and accreditations are a way of establishing goals and standards in any industry. Early childhood education and childcare centers are no different. 

NAEYC  – National Association for the Education of Young Children is the gold standard in evaluating the quality of providers of early childhood education.  From their website, “Achieving NAEYC Accreditation is a four-step process that involves self-reflection and quality improvement in order to meet and maintaining accreditation over five years. Directors, teachers, and families all participate in the process. Programs are required to meet standards grouped into 10 areas: relationships with children, curriculum, teaching approaches, child assessment, nutrition and health, staff qualifications, relationship with children’s families, relationship with the community, physical environment, and program leadership and management.”

It’s a formidable challenge to achieve accreditation.  The Village is the only NAEYC-accredited provider of services from birth to age 6 within 50 miles of California PA. Rutledge Institute is accredited by virtue of its affiliation with the Village as a satellite location

Keystone Stars is the Pennsylvania state program of quality levels for early childhood providers.  All licensed providers are at least Star 1.  The Village (and Rutledge Institute) have been evaluated by the state and awarded Star 4 — the highest rating.  In addition, The Department of Human Services (DHS) conducts inspections of our facilities at least once a year and we have a track record of minimum citations (usually 1 or 2 administrative details per year). Public records are available for all licensed childcare providers. We encourage families to review these as they may shed light on serious issues that may involve child safety and security. 

We encourage you to choose the highest quality center— NAEYC accredited, Keystone Star 4, with minimum citations. This link may be helpful in your search: Compass Search.

Subsidized Care

Parents who meet the income qualifications for childcare subsidy, pay a portion of the tuition for their children to get care.  ChildCare Works (CCW) pays the lion’s share and parents pay a small co-payment.  The daily tuition rates are set by CCW based on the county where the parents live and the providers of childcare cannot receive more than the CCW-approved rate based on Star level.  The parents can take their child to any CCW approved provider and the co-payment would be the same. 

There’s no financial reason for parents who qualify for subsidies to compromise the quality of care for their children.

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