Ask the Expert: What is Quality Child Care

by Cheryl Tyler, Outreach Specialist, Child Care Answers

One word says it all.  Quality.   According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word quality means a degree of excellence.  Did you choose quality when you chose your child care provider?  Did you pick a child care provider with a degree of excellence?  If not, are you rethinking your decision?

In the state of Indiana we are incredibly lucky.  We have a program that is designed to help you find that excellence.  Paths to QUALITYTM is that program.  Something you may not know about Paths to QUALITYTM is that currently it’s a voluntary program.  That’s right, it’s not mandatory.  Providers who are on this voluntary quality rating system have chosen to continue their education, training, and give your child a degree of excellence in their early childhood education.

Paths to QUALITYTM is a four-level system that is designed to give parents a quality seal of approval on child care providers.  At each level, the provider and staff must complete trainings and continue their education. Each level also builds on each other like a pyramid.

  1. Level 1 means that all health and safety standards set by the state of Indiana are met.
  2. At level 2, the provider must continue to meet all level 1 standards, and have a consistent daily schedule and planned activities.
  3. Level 3 incorporates all level 1 and 2 standards as well as planning appropriate activities that promote school readiness.
  4. When a program reaches level 4, the child care has maintained all standards of the first three levels and also becomes nationally accredited.  Also, a level 4 provider is committed to mentoring other programs that are on their way to level 4.

Providers that have chosen to participate in Paths to QUALITYTM have a deep commitment to Early Childhood Education and your child’s success in school.  If you have chosen a Paths to QUALITYTM provider, you’ve also made a commitment to your child’s success.  If you haven’t chosen a provider on Paths to QUALITYTM or you would like more information, please feel free to contact Child Care Answers.  Not only can we answers your questions about Paths to QUALITYTM and child care, we can also run a child care search for providers who have chosen to participate in this QUALITYTM rating system.

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