What is the Stars Program?
Children who get a high-quality early childhood education are better prepared for school. They also do better throughout their lives. The Stars program defines and maintains standards of quality beyond minimum licensing requirements so Oklahoma children benefit from care that is always improving.
Oklahoma’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) was designed with practice and evidence-based quality criteria in 1998 with three goals in mind:
- To increase the education and competency levels of child care providers.
- To increase access to quality child care for children receiving subsidized care.
- To provide a system for parents to evaluate the quality of child care services.
To meet these goals, the Stars program awards different quality ratings to early childhood programs that meet a defined set of program standards based on:
- Child outcomes
- Learning environments
- Teacher-child interactions
- Professional development
From the start, the QRIS has changed to better fit with nationally recognized quality standards. Recently, the QRIS Standing Subcommittee completed a review of Oklahoma’s QRIS and made suggestions to restructure the program, effective on June 1st, 2022.
The major changes from the previous program include:
- An upgraded, five-level system with more incentives.
- A new path to accreditation for providers seeking to attain a 4 or 5-star rating.
- Criteria based on staff retention
- A simplified, online application process