Step Up to Quality enhanced the search function on its website, and now offers a helpful set of resources there for Nebraska parents looking for high quality child care in their area.
With more than 500 child care providers across the state rated through Step Up to Quality, parents can rely on the program to help them narrow down their choices.
“We know the search for child care can be overwhelming, and we’re here to make it easier,” says Step Up to Quality Director Lauri Cimino. “We’re so pleased to provide these free resources for Nebraska parents.”
Step Up to Quality’s website now features:
- An intuitive search function that allows parents to select their child care preferences and quickly narrow down their options.
- An ability to save their favorite providers – and the site will remember the favorites the next time they visit.
- Child age-specific checklists parents can use while visiting child care facilities and questions they can ask, with room for notes.
- Other information about the importance of high quality early childhood education.
“It’s one of the most important decisions that working parents will make,” Cimino says. “High quality care and education, starting in infancy, has been proven to build a strong foundation for learning, emotional intelligence and better health for the rest of a person’s life.”
What is Step Up to Quality?
Step Up to Quality began in 2014 and is a program managed by the State of Nebraska’s Departments of Education (Office of Early Childhood) and Health and Human Services. As Nebraska’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), Step Up to Quality helps great child care providers become even better and helps parents find high quality care in their area.
The Step Up to Quality process challenges child care providers to go above and beyond licensing requirements and adopt a mindset of continuous improvement of their program, even when they’ve reached the pinnacle of Step 5. Programs rated through Step Up to Quality receive specialized training, access to professional coaches and even financial incentives.
Aspects of quality early childhood education that Step Up to Quality covers include:
- Curriculum, learning environments and interactions
- Child outcomes
- Professional development and ongoing training for teachers
- Family engagement and partnerships
- Program administration
Parents can rest assured that providers participating in Step Up to Quality are committed to high quality care.
With 90% of brain development occurring before age 5, high quality early childhood education is crucial to every child’s future – and the future of our state. Step Up to Quality is Nebraska’s only statewide program focused on helping child care providers continuously improve the quality of their care.