Delaware Quality Early Learning Efforts Continue to Grow
This is a guest post from Harriet Dichter, the Executive Director of the Delaware Office of Early Learning.
As Delaware continues its quest to Vision 2015, the Delaware Office of Early Learning and its many partners remain focused on continuous quality improvement through Delaware Stars and early learning to ensure that all of Delaware’s youngest learners are prepared for school and life, one of the cornerstones of building a world-class education system in the First State.
Recently Governor Jack Markell announced 2014 enhancements to Delaware Stars, the state’s a quality rating and improvement system for early care and education programs in Delaware, created to help our early childhood programs improve quality and to help families find a quality early childhood program for their young child(ren) and be assured of a focus on quality and quality improvement.
These 2014 enhancements, which improve financial incentives; improve supports; increase accountability; and increase transparency, were developed based on feedback from early educators and program administrators at many of the more than 490 Delaware Stars early learning centers and family child care programs serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers, including early Head Start and Head Stars statewide.
The goal is to provide our early childhood educators with the best possible tools for teaching children, and to elevate the status of the profession to the critical value they provide in the lives of children, families, and our communities.
Collectively these enhancements provide more resources and supports that will sustain quality for Delaware Stars programs and early childhood program staff, and most importantly, benefit young children and their families.
We have also increased our efforts to help families with young children with the addition of a new tab on www.greatstartsdelaware.com, our online family resource. Early Learning at Home provides families with useful information and ideas on ways to foster early learning at home. Updated twice a month, the tab offers links to tips from leading authorities and categorizes them as infant, toddler and preschooler. The tips and ideas cover myriad topics including family activities, nutritional information, behavioral development, and health related knowledge. An array of video clips message effectively to families the importance of quality early learning experiences in preparing young children for success in school and life.
Our family outreach team and our many community partners including business leaders continue to reach out to families throughout the state to educate them about Delaware Stars and equip them with tools to ensure that their children have access to the resources they need to succeed.