Osseo Area Schools’ Four Star Express preschool program has recently been given four stars, the highest rating possible, from Parent Aware, a rating tool sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in coordination with the Minnesota Office of Early Learning. Parent Aware’s rating system helps parents find programs that go above and beyond to prepare children for school and life. Four Star Rated programs need to use an approved curriculum and our staff needs 16 total hours of special training.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services leads Parent Aware in coordination with the Minnesota Office of Early Learning. Child Care Aware of Minnesota is working in local communities to share the ratings with parents and prepare child care/early education programs. Community leaders including Parent Aware for School Readiness and the Greater Twin Cities United Way also support Parent Aware.
All Star-Rated Programs go above and beyond licensing requirements to support school readiness. By voluntarily becoming rated, a program shows it cares enough about early learning to use the best practices and proven approaches. With non-rated programs, even though they may be licensed, parents do not have the same assurances about early education quality.
At each level, quality indicators are measured in four key areas:
• Physical Health and Well-Being
• Teaching and Relationships
• Assessment of Child Progress
• Teacher Training and Education
Participating programs have:
• Volunteered for extra, in-depth training
• Devoted themselves to strong, caring relationships with each child
• Adopted the latest approaches to keeping children’s learning on track
• Committed to daily activities and routines that help children learn and grow
• Placed a focus on children’s health and safety
To earn a One Star Rating, programs have shown that they have introduced some of the basic best practices to prepare kids for kindergarten, including: collecting resources for families, learning more about child development through continual training and carefully observing children as they learn and documenting information. By volunteering for Parent Aware, these programs are putting themselves on a path to incorporating best practices into their program. Like each of the other Star Ratings, a One Star Rating shows a program’s commitment to continual improvement and the children in their care.
To earn a Two Star Rating, programs have shown that they are actively using many best practices to prepare kids for kindergarten, including: acting as a resource for families regarding their children’s healthy growth, planning daily activities in a thoughtful way that enhances each child’s experience, familiarizing themselves with Minnesota’s early learning standards for young children and planning for its own on-going training and professional growth.
To earn Three Star Rating, programs have demonstrated the use of most best practices in preparing kids for kindergarten, including: active role in assisting families in identifying needs of child, regularly conducts child assessments throughout the year, received nutrition, physical activity and curriculum implementation training, documented training and education and curriculum aligned with the Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIP). To earn this rating, programs must first meet all One and Two Star Rating requirements.
To earn a Four Star Rating, programs are excelling in the use of most best practices in preparing kids for kindergarten. Criteria includes: exemplifies a truly engaged school readiness partner for parents, ongoing assessment of child’s progress, continually adapts lesson plans and goals to meet individual needs, regularly updates parents on child’s progress, trained on children’s developmental disabilities, communicates across cultures and receives and documents on-going childhood-related education. As with Three Stars earned, programs must first meet all One and Two Star Rating indicators before becoming eligible for a Four Star Rating. Programs earning a Four Star shows that it is equipped to offer the very best in quality care,assuring parents that it is doing all it can to prepare their children for school. Four Star Rated programs need to use an approved curriculum and our staff needs 16 total hours of special training.
For more information on Osseo Area Schools’ Four Star Express and other child care programs, visit district279.org or call Gail Maus at 763-585-7280. More information on the Parent Aware ratings is available at: parentawareratings.org/en/about.