Keystone STARS is a quality rating system that promotes quality improvement in early learning and development programs and school-age child care. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment in which they are learning new things every day to support their current and future successes in school and in life. Since the inception of the Keystone STARS program in 2002, the Performance Standards have been the bedrock of the program. The standards are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future. Therefore, the Keystone STARS Performance Standards reflect research-based practices to improve outcomes for children. The standards are organized into four STAR levels that build upon each other in order to support continuous quality improvement. When a program meets the Performance Standards for a STAR level, they receive the mark of quality, a STAR designation. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment.
Early learning programs participating in Keystone STARS can earn a quality rating score from a STAR 1 to a STAR 4. At each level, programs must meet certain quality standards in four key areas: staff education, learning environment, leadership/management, and family/community partnerships. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality standards. A vital part of Pennsylvania's early learning system, Keystone STARS works with programs, such as Head Start, school-aged programs, and programs certified by the Department of Human Services. High quality early learning programs will offer your child a stimulating, nurturing environment which should help prepare them for school and to reach his or her full potential. Quality environments provide a stimulating, loving atmosphere in which children will thrive. The Performance Standards for Keystone STARS quality-rated providers are guided by the principle that quality early learning programs are the foundation for children's success, and investment in the early care and education of Pennsylvania's children is an investment in the future. Contact Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 17 to learn more about the Keystone STARS program!
Recorded Demonstration New Streamlined Keystone STARS and More Resources Available Now
On July 1, 2022, the new process for Keystone STARS pre-designation and designation applications launched in Pennsylvania’s Professional Development (PD) Registry. A recorded demonstration can be viewed here. Moving more functionality into the PD Registry streamlines multiple processes into one system and designation for providers. Continue reading.
Recorded Webinar 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards
A recorded webinar on the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards has been developed and is now available on the Pennsylvania Key’s YouTube. The webinar provides information on the updates and edits that have been made to the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards. The Standards and accompanying resource documents can be found on the Keystone STARS page.
Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC)
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Consultation is a free resource that supports children’s social-emotional development from birth through age 5 within early learning programs participating in Keystone STARS. IECMHC helps adults strengthen their relationships with young children and build capacity to respond to children’s social-emotional needs. IECMHC can help reduce caregiver stress, as well as increase caregivers’ reflective practice skills. IECMH Consultants are available by appointment to provide IECMHC Virtual Office Hours consultation via telephone or video conference. IECMHC Virtual Office Hours is a short-term, collaborative, problem-solving conversation to help you find next steps for Child Social-Emotional Concerns; Child Behavioral or Developmental Concerns; Emotional Well-being of Teachers and Caregivers; and Partnering with Families. Appointments are held on the first and third Fridays of the month, or other days/times by request. Continue reading.
Recorded Webinar - PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REGISTRY
In August, the Quality Coaches hosted a webinar on the Professional Development Registry. This webinar covers how to create an account and apply for the Career Pathway. The webinar also includes how to create an Organizational profile, completing self-assessments and the Individualized Professional Development Plan. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Quality Coach or Maggie Johnson.
Bonus Points Tip Sheets
Please review the following Keystone STARS Bonus Points Tip Sheets for quality initiatives associated with the current Keystone STARS bonus point opportunities. OCDEL, in partnership with our quality initiative partners, developed these tip sheets in order to both highlight the bonus point opportunities as well as to provide additional information to providers. Contact your Quality Coach with questions!
Farm to Early Care and Education
PA ECO Healthy Early Child Care
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)
PA Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (PA NAP SACC)
Regional Job Search Directory
The Pennsylvania Key, on behalf of OCDEL, has developed a resource page for providers and professionals to more easily navigate where to post and find employment opportunities.
Hopefully, you will find this resource helpful and utilize it moving forward. If you have or know additional resources that could or should be added please email CommsTeam@pakeys.org.
A Guide to Help Parents Identify Quality Child Care
Find Keystone STARS quality-rated child care programs
View the Keystone STARS Performance Standards
Information for child care programs interested in joining Keystone STARS
Pennsylvania Department of Education
View the Keystone STARS Program Manual
View the Crosswalk of 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards to Previous Version