Miss Brett’s Child Care Center in North East boosted its ranking in Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS program and was recently recognized with a STAR 2 designation. Miss Brett’s Child Care Center provides child care services for approximately 45 children ages four weeks to 12 years.

“We’ve always known that our teachers and staff are all high quality and it’s great that our new STAR 2 designation confirms it,” said Miss Brett’s owner Brenda Hotchkiss. “Moving up to a STAR 2 quality rating tells parents that their children are in a developmentally appropriate and supportive environment.”

To achieve a START 2 rating, Miss Brett’s Child Care had to meet increased research-based standards for program quality. For example, at least half of lead teachers in STAR 2 centers or group childcare homes must have an Associate degree in early childhood education.

“We worked hard to reach a STAR 2 because we know that quality really makes a difference and everyone benefits from behind held to a higher standard. Research has shown that quality early education increases a child’s likelihood to do well in school, graduate high school and attend college or job training,” said Hotchkiss.

Keystone STARS is a quality rating and improvement system that offers families a way to evaluate the quality of child care programs so they can make informed decisions that best suit their needs as well as the needs of their children. As STAR levels increase from a STAR 1 up through a STAR 4, so do the requirements for meeting higher standards of quality. Keystone STARS also provides training to advance staff education, technical assistance to help programs meet STAR level requirements and additional resources through support grants and merit awards to support continued quality improvements.

Keystone STARS quality standards build upon health and safety requirements regulated by the Department of Public Welfare. Nearly 4,500 Keystone STARS providers are serving nearly 170,000 children from birth to age 12 in 2010-11.

In five years Miss Brett’s Child Care has grown from a STAR 1 Licensed Family Day Care Home in North East to a STAR 2 center in operation three years this October on W. Main Rd. Hotchkiss, also known as Miss Brett, started caring for children in her home so she could be with her children while they were young and help care for other children while parents worked or attended school.

After a short time having a few children to care for turned into many and a waiting list began for her growing in-home child care business.

“I wanted to offer parents more than just a babysitting service and to use my education and experience being a mom knowing how hard it is to find loving, reliable care. By becoming a Keystone STARS participant, this assured parents I took my career seriously to enhance the quality of learning through trainings and educational materials and that I was committed to maintaining in compliance with regulations,” said Hotchkiss.

With the STAR 2 grant, Miss Brett’s will add two more fenced-in playgrounds for toddlers and infants and will increase its pre-school playground.

“We are excited to purchase new equipment and materials for children just in time for summer!” said Hotchkiss.

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