I would like share a very important message from Step Up to Quality, Nebraska’s quality rating and improvement system for child care providers and educators.
While the majority of Nebraskans believe quality early care and education is very important, only 10 percent strongly agree that young children in our state are prepared to be successful when they begin kindergarten, according to a recent survey of Nebraskans by Gallup in partnership with the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. The survey also found that Nebraska parents believe their local child care providers could do better when it comes to quality. In fact, only 15 percent of Nebraskans are very satisfied with the quality of early care and education programs where they live.
Step Up to Quality is here to help providers who are committed to being the best they can be to give children the strong start we know is so important.
Since the launch of Step Up to Quality in 2014, we have seen huge interest and growth! There currently are 434 programs and providers statewide who have made the decision to become Step Up to Quality programs. Nearly 250 programs have applied for a rating.
Participating programs have access to support and resources like coaching, incentive bonuses and additional financial supports, as well as recognition on the Step Up to Quality website. Coaching has been one of the most popular options for programs, with 86 programs requesting and receiving coaching services.
Step Up to Quality provides parents with information to help them evaluate the quality of child care and early childhood education available to them so they can make the best decision when choosing a program for their child. In July we added an interactive map to our website as a tool to help families find a Step Up to Quality program near their work or home.
We are asking those who are committed to serving children and families to help us spread the word about the importance of parents choosing a high-quality program for their children. Research shows us that children who receive quality early experiences benefit throughout their lifetime, seen in school success and later as productive citizens able to successfully parent the next generation.
Thank you for your dedication to Nebraska’s children and families. Together, we can make a difference!
Step Up to Quality Director
Nebraska Department of Education