Chances are while driving through town you have seen signs in front of preschools advertising “Quality First”. These preschools advertise their rating, and show that they are striving to provide high quality care to their students. But, what is Quality first? And what do these ratings mean?
What is the Purpose of Quality First?
Quality first was launched by First Things First as a way to partner with child care and preschool programs in Arizona. Their goal is to improve the quality of early learning statewide. Each program enrolled in Quality First receives coaching and funding to help their center offer the best care possible.
Quality first is all about improving the quality of care. The standards are high, and reaching high quality care is typically a long term process.
What are the levels of Quality First?
There are five levels of quality first ranging from 1 to five stars.
Highest Quality 5 stars-Far exceeds Quality standards
Quality Plus 4 stars-Exceeds Quality Standards
Quality 3 Stars- Meets Quality Standards
Progressing Star 2 Stars-Approaching Quality Standards
Rising Star 1 Star-Committed to Quality Improvement
No Rating-Enrolled but rating is not public yet
How is Quality First Assessed?
The quality of each program enrolled in Quality First is assessed using reliable tools that focus on key components of quality early care. These include adult-child interactions, learning environments, and the qualifications of the staff.
Programs that have achieved at least 3 stars have met these standards and all programs who are participating are recognized as committed to quality and improving their standards to help prepare students for school and life.
Frequently Asked Questions about Quality Care
If my center participates will they charge more?
No! Participating in Quality First allows your child’s center to receive funding and scholarships that prevents providers from passing expenses on to their families.
If my center is only rated a one is that bad?
Not at all, it just means that they are striving to continue improving their quality of care. Reaching each star takes time and effort.
Why should I care about quality first?
By having a provider who participates in quality first you know that your child is in the care of a center or individual that values education, and is striving to improve their facility and the quality of care they provide their students.
For more information about Quality First check out their site.