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Ohio Seeks Feedback on New Early Learning Program Standards

Release date: 10/18/2012

Once finalized, the new standards will apply to programs in school districts, child care facilities and private homes funded by ODJFS or ODE. The expansion will improve the quality of all early learning programs that serve children with high needs from birth to 5 years old.

“These draft program standards reflect the elements research shows makes a difference in the quality of early learning and development programs,” said Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael L. Sawyers. “The standards also draw attention to the importance of an appropriate curriculum aligned to Ohio’s content standards, to ensure children are provided with experiences that will further their progress in all areas of development.”

Child care and preschool programs will receive a rating of one to five stars depending on the program’s ability to meet stringent performance standards in each of four domains.

“These proposed Step Up To Quality standards will produce better outcomes for children because they will require teachers to be trained and qualified, will require frequent child assessments, and will reward evidence-based curricula and more comprehensive early education experiences,” said ODJFS Director Michael Colbert. “The star rating system also helps guide parents to the highest quality programs.”

The new Step Up To Quality measures will rate Ohio’s early learning programs in four domains:

  • Learning and Development: Is the program using research-based curricula aligned to Ohio’s new early learning and development standards from birth to kindergarten entry?
  • Staff Qualifications and Professional Development: Have administrators, teachers and assistant teachers obtained required credentials and ongoing professional development hours?
  • Administrative and Leadership Practices: To what extent does the program adhere to an annual continuous improvement process? Family and Community Partnerships: How well does the program engage families and community partners to support children while they are enrolled in the program and as they transition into and out of the program?
  • ODJFS and ODE will implement the new standards beginning in July 2013. Participation for all publicly funded programs will be phased in and will be mandatory by 2020.

    Early education teachers, child care administrators and staff, parents, and other interested Ohioans are encouraged to read the proposed standards and submit comments and suggested improvements at build-ohio.org.