Parents & Families


Parents & Families Image

Numerous studies show that when children receive high quality care and education during their first five years of life, they are more ready for school, they are better readers, and they are more likely to graduate from high school. This is a fundamental reason for the Kern Early Stars program being created and implemented in our county. The Kern Early Stars program is a quality rating and improvement system designed to help providers a long a continuous pathway of quality improvement in the following areas:

  • Ratios and group size
    • More teachers and smaller group sizes help staff spend more quality, engaged time with individual children.
  • 
Learning activities
    • Daily learning activities support each child’s interests, growth and development, as well as culture and home language.
  • 
Environment

    • The setting allows children to learn and develop to their fullest potential. This includes high interest activities, safety, and staff interactions with children in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Health & child development
    • A child’s overall well-being is supported. This includes his or her physical growth, as well as ability to learn and get along with others.
  • Staff training & education
    • Directors and teachers are trained in child development and early learning. Some have college units or college degrees.

It can seem very overwhelming to choose the best child care option for your infant, toddler, or preschooler. The best way to determine where you feel your child would have the most success is to visit the centers or family child care providers you are interested in. How will you know if the center or home care environment you choose is using quality care practices? Here are few things to look for:
A safe, warm and welcoming environment;

  • Trained caregivers and teachers who are knowledgeable in infant/child development;
  • Teachers and caregivers are positively engaging with your child;
  • Caregivers and teachers offer daily feedback on your child;
  • Hands on learning environments designed for children to explore freely, play and be creative.

An informational booklet on different options for child care, as well as a check list and questionnaire to use are available at: Child Care Choices

Information on choosing a licensed child care center or family home daycare can also be found at http://www.ccld.ca.gov/PG524.htm . A list of Kern Early Stars Rated sites can be found on the (?) page of this website. ( a tab will be created that list our programs who have been rated)

Centers and family child care providers will voluntarily participate with training and resources to help them enhance the quality of their program. Some sites will eventually reach the point of participating with a “Rating” process in which they can obtain points in specific areas of quality. The areas of quality include:

    • Interactions Between Adults and Children
    • Children’s Health and Development
    • Learning Experiences that Support School Readiness Skills
    • Ratios and Group Sizes
    • Safe and Age Appropriate Environments
    • A High Level of Training and Education for Providers

      Stars are awarded to a program based on point values in each of these areas. Along with the star rating, the program will also receive a report card. Just like a report card given in school breaks down a child’s achievements in individual classes, the Kern Early Stars report card will show how a program scored in each individual element. This report card gives the program a way to share with families the areas they excel in, as well as the areas they are continuing to strengthen. Participating providers set goals and have the opportunity to earn more stars based on a new rating that will take place every other year.

    • As the awareness of the Kern Early Stars program grows, parents will begin to understand what to look for when seeking a high quality program for their young children. They will know to look for programs/providers who are participating with a QRIS knowing that these providers are committed to continuous quality improvement. The extra benefit of having a “Star Rating” will give programs/providers a boost of “advertisement” as a result of their participation.

Low-cost or free child care – If you are in need of child care so that you can work or go to school, or for your child to benefit from attending preschool but cannot afford to pay for it, there options that may be available to you. To learn more about these options you may:

  • Contact Community Connection for Child Care for a referral to a program you may be eligible for;
  • Contact your local school district to see if they offer a Pre-K program;
  • Call Community Action Partnership of Kern (Head Start Enrollment Hotline: 1-800-701-7060) for a listing of local Head Start and Early Head Start programs;
  • If you receive CalWORKs, ask your case manager about your child care options;