YMCA CHILD CARE CENTER ADVANCES TO A STAR 4 STATE QUALITY RATING FROM KEYSTONE STARS

March 16, 2016

New Castle, PA – The New Castle Community YMCA is proud to announce that its Child Care Center has boosted its rating in Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS program and has been recognized with a STAR 4 designation from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. The YMCA Child Care Center provides child care services for approximately 67 children ages 12 months to 12 years, as well as full-day and half-day preschool classes for 32 children ages 3 to 5.

“We are thrilled that our hard work has allowed us to achieve a higher STAR 4 quality rating! The YMCA Child Care Center has participated in Keystone STARS since 2006 because we know it’s important provide a safe, happy, quality learning experience for kids, to prepare them to succeed in school and in life,” said Kelly Bucci, M.Ed., Child Care Director.

STAR 4 is the highest rating available from Keystone STARS. To earn it, the YMCA Child Care Center had to meet research-based standards for program quality. For example, at least half of lead teachers in STAR 4 child care centers must have a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Teachers assess children’s skills three times a year, and hold at least two family conferences each year to discuss the child’s progress and behavioral, social and physical needs.

“Our staff has worked very hard to get where we are,” says Bucci. “The day we got the call that we had earned the STAR 4 rating, there was such excitement. We do great things every day, and it’s nice to have validation and recognition for that.”

Keystone STARS is a rating system that offers families a way to evaluate the quality of child care programs, so that they can make an informed decision that best suits their needs, as well as the needs of their children. As STAR levels increase from a STAR 1 through a STAR 4, so do the requirements for meeting higher standards of quality. Keystone STARS also provides training to advance staff education, technical assistance to help programs meet STAR level requirements, and additional resources through support grants and merit awards to support continued quality improvements. 

Keystone STARS quality standards build upon health and safety requirements already regulated by the Department of Human Services. Nearly 3,900 Keystone STARS providers are serving approximately 166,000 children from birth to age 12 in 2014-2015.