Kids Count Child Care: Setting Standards for Early Childhood Education
Kids Count Child Care at P.G. Chambers School is a community based child care center for infant, toddler, preschool, and pre-K children, six weeks to five years of age. Our mission is to provide children with a safe, nurturing environment where they will grow, learn, communicate, develop friendships, and be happy.
This year, Kids Count Child Care was invited to participate in a groundbreaking pilot project called Grow New Jersey Kids. The plan will build higher quality care and provide public information about individual programs through a statewide quality rating improvement system (QRIS). Fifty-six sites in Middlesex, Somerset, Morris, and Essex counties are piloting Grow New Jersey Kids. Results, in the form of quality ratings, will serve as a basis for professional development and other program improvements. The standards established through Grow NJ Kids will provide a road map for improving the quality of child care programs. Grow NJ Kids will expand from the pilot of 56 programs to 1,790 early learning and development programs over four years.
The pilot and related QRIS are part of the New Jersey Early Learning Plan, funded by the $44.3 million Race To The Top (RTTT) Early Learning Challenge Grant, helping improve access to high-quality early learning and development programs for thousands of children throughout the state. “We are extremely proud to be asked to participate in the pilot study,” states Carolyn Young, Director, Kids Count. “The funding will set standards to guide the quality of programming, broaden training, and affords parents with a Consumer Reports-like rating system for early learning providers.”
The New Jersey Early Learning Plan contains other initiatives to be implemented by 2018, including:
- A self-sustaining Training Academy to coordinate professional development for programs that serve high-needs children. Academy staff and specialists will provide training to approximately 20,000 early childhood educators and related staff.
- An aligned set of early learning standards from birth to grade three.
- The NJ Kindergarten Entry Assessment (NJKEA) to help teachers determine a starting point for each child’s instruction.
- Awareness activities for families about Grow NJ Kids, especially culturally and linguistically diverse families, through the use of multilingual documents, video clips, and online resources.
- Alignment of data systems among the four state agencies involved with early learning, improving communication and evaluation of initiatives.
For information about fees, enrollment, or to visit Kids Count Child Care, contact director, Carolyn Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973.829.8484.