Quality Counts

Quality Counts Quality Counts


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To help you make informed choices about the best care and education for your child, the Children's Trust established the Quality Counts initiative. Quality Counts reviews early learning programs according to clearly defined, high-quality standards related to teacher qualifications, learning environment, curriculum, teacher/child ratios, family engagement and program administration. It uses a 5 Star method of evaluation and provides supports to help programs reach goals of high quality. Participating programs benefit from a mix of support services tailored to needs, including technical assistance, grants, scholarships and wage stipends. Quality Counts is proving that balancing higher standards with professional incentives helps to steadily raise the quality of services for young children and families.

This website lists early care and education centers and family child care homes currently participating in Quality Counts - participation that signals their commitment to improve the quality of services and care they provide for your child.

Participating programs follow a multi-step process. First, they conduct a thorough review of their own setting, measuring themselves in terms of 5 Star standards and thereby establishing a "baseline" rating (no stars are awarded, as this baseline is the starting point for quality improvement). After this Self-Study, a formal assessment is completed by highly trained assessors.

Centers with a "pending" rating (listed within Our Programs on our website) indicate the program has a baseline but no official Star rating as yet.

Reports provided by the assessment team help the programs develop their own Quality Improvement Plans (QIP). Technical assistance specialists are made available to help develop and implement these plans. Other benefits include educational scholarships for teachers, and grants for materials and equipment. The first formal Star rating is completed after one year or more of efforts toward implementing the QIP. Star ratings are renewed annually thereafter.

Quality standards include:

Learning Environment: The Learning Environment, which includes both the physical environment and also a child's interactions with materials, their teachers and other children, must address three basic needs:

  • Protection of health and safety
  • Warm and responsive interactions with teachers, and help learning to get along with other children
  • A variety of active learning experiences.

Staff Qualifications: The knowledge and skills of teachers is critically important to ensure that children have a variety of learning opportunities and social interactions that prepare them for school.

Additional guidelines to quality improvement are provided in Health & Safety, Ratio & Group Size, and Program Administration.

Our goal is to improve the quality of early care and education programs in Miami-Dade County.

For more information:
Call 305-646-7242 or
Email: qualitycounts@elcmdm.org
Web: www.elcmdm.org/qualitycounts

Quality Counts is a quality rating and improvement system designed and funded by The Children's Trust in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe. It is administered in collaboration with Florida International University, Family Central Inc., Devereux Florida, The Children's Forum, and the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education.