New rating system helps parents pick best childcare center

News 12 This Morning

September 10, 2013

(WRDW)--"Quality rated is a brand new program. It's voluntary. It's for every early education program that is licensed in Georgia," said Mindy Binderman.

It's happening thanks to a massive public-private collaboration, including folks like Binderman with Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. The collaboration is helping parents and children to get the best fit in early childcare.

It's called the Quality Rated program, a community-powered early education rating system.

"[It] rates centers and programs similarly to how we rate hotels or restaurants," Binderman explained.

Early childcare systems already participating in Quality Rated are focusing on improvement, like creating better learning environments, lower student to teacher ratios and providing more physical activity.

"It's helped them improve their nutrition. It might have helped them their teaching practices," said Binderman.

At GRU Childcare Center, they're already seeing some improvements, especially in nutrition. The center is offering healthy options like hummus and whole milk instead of 2% milk.

"We're trying to professionalize the field," Binderman explained. "Teachers are teachers whether you're teaching a six month old or a sixteen year old."

The program rolled out in July and so far about 1400 schools in Georgia are Quality Rated participants. Here in our area, four centers, including GRU Childcare, are part of the program.

And it's easy to get the process started if you want your childcare provider to get Quality Rated.

"Parents can ask their centers, 'are you participating in the quality rated program, if not--why? If not, please do,'" Binderman said.

The rating system in Georgia is out of three stars. A one star rating means the center is scoring sufficiently, two stars means the center is scoring well and three stars means the center is scoring high.

It takes about 9 months for a center to get their first star once they start participating in the program and there are a lot of incentives to participate, including grant money.

To get more information about getting started, or to find out which centers in your area are already participating, click the link below.


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