Head Start Rated by QUALITYstarsNY

MIDDLETOWN – The Head Start programs of Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP) celebrate their accreditation byQUALITYstarsNY. The centers in Middletown and Port Jervis received 4-star ratings and the Scotchtown site received a 5-star rating. Ratings are determined by examinations of learning environment, family engagement, staff qualifications and experience.

Experts in the field of early childhood development and learning created the QUALITYstarsNY standards to provide a common framework across New York State for monitoring high quality early care and education programs. Staff at each center participated in preparation and observation during the accreditation process and tracked professional development and education goals. “The accreditation process is already making a difference in the quality of the program,” said Heather Decker, Early Childhood Development Director, who oversees the programs. “The collaboration enabled us to purchase outdoor learning materials for our playground in Port Jervis including building blocks and a new water table.”

A school’s rating is determined using a point system based on 75 different indicators, resulting in a one- to five-star rating with five stars denoting highest quality. To augment the rigor of the point system, an independent evaluation of a site’s classrooms or a provider’s home using the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) tool is used.There are standards for center-based programs, including Head Start and pre-K, family home providers and primary schools with pre-kindergarten classrooms. QUALITYstarsNY is a project of the New YorkState Early Childhood Advisory Council.

About the Program
Head Start supports the comprehensive development of children in the learning centers and in their own homes. Development-focused services include early learning through instruction, health education including meals and dental support, and family well-being as parents are encouraged toachieve their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families around children’s learning and development.

About the Agency
RECAP’s services help people living in poverty in Orange County and the surrounding areas. Visit www.recap.org for information about programs, fundraisers and events.

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