Thursday, July 18 to Tuesday, October 1

Great Start to Quality is getting an upgrade!   Action is needed to prepare your program for this transition. Learn more on the System Upgrade page.

Providers & Educators

Great Start to Quality is getting a user-friendly upgrade October 2019!

Visit the System Upgrade page to learn more. 


Interested in Improving your Program's Quality?

There are many tools, resources, and services available to support your program's efforts to improve quality.

Many of these supports are available through different stages of participation in Great Start to Quality. Some supports and resources are available regardless of your participation in Great Start to Quality and include lending library materials and Professional Development opportunities. 

There are more detailed descriptions for each tool, resource, and step in the process when you choose one from the list below.


There is a Lending Library at your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center available for you to check out any of the educational materials.

You can borrow resources to help you support your program and practice, such as:

  • Screening, assessment, and curriculum materials
  • Learning kits (according to age groups and topics)
  • Books, CDs, puzzles, and other learning materials

Contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center for more information about available materials and locations. 

Why is on-site program assessment important for your program? 

The assessment step of Great Start to Quality is important because it gives you an in-depth and objective look at the practices in your program. Since programs and classrooms are always changing and growing, having an outside person assess your program, will offer you a basis to better support children’s growth and improve your classroom practices. 

An assessment provides valuable information for reflection and quality improvement. Once a Great Start to Quality Assessor visits your program and conducts a Program Quality Assessment (PQA), a detailed report will provide you with information on where your program is excelling and where you have opportunities for improvement. A Quality Improvement Consultant from your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center will work with you and your program to understand the report and make any program changes you choose to implement. The PQA is a tool used for evaluating and improving program quality and can be an ongoing asset to your program. As you make improvements to support children and classroom practices, you can choose to request another PQA to work toward increasing your score and Star Rating. An onsite program assessment is available to programs who validate at a 4 or 5 Star.

Why does Great Start to Quality use the Program Quality Assessment? 

Great Start to Quality uses the Program Quality Assessment (PQA), because it is a comprehensive tool for all programs, regardless of curriculum in use. The PQA aligns to Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards for Quality, and focuses on children’s progress and early childhood best practices, making it a great tool to support the children and staff in your program. There are different versions of the PQA to support your specific program type and ages served, including preschool, infant/toddler, and family child care. 

What does the Program Quality Assessment focus on?

The PQA focuses on the entire program or classroom, including the learning environment, daily routine, adult-child interaction, curriculum planning and assessment, and safe and healthy environment. 

Learn more about the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) developed by HighScope® 

What do I need to know about the on-site assessment?

The On-Site Assessment Guidance Document prepares you for the on-site assessment of Great Start to Quality and assists you with understanding your results and answering any questions you may have about the assessment process. 

You can also contact your Great Start to Quality Resource Center to check out a copy of the PQA from the Lending Library.

Your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center offers various training and professional development opportunities.

  • Licensed providers have access to training to support professional development and improve early care practices.
  • Unlicensed, subsidized providers have access to Great Start to Quality Orientation, and other training to help increase the level of quality practiced.

Contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center for help accessing Professional Development trainings and opportunities.

Quality Improvement Consultants work at your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center. They can provide you with various supports such as individualized consultation, coaching, and access to training and resources.

They also:

  • Provide free coaching and consultation to help you on your quality journey
  • Help you and your staff with the development of your Quality Improvement Plan
  • Connect you with resources for yourself or your program

The Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is the tool you as a Provider and Educator can use to track your goals and growth in Great Start to Quality.

Your Quality Improvement Plan allows you to:

  • Create goals that align with the five categories in the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) and the areas of the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) tool
  • Plan the steps you will be taking to achieve your goals and improve quality
  • Be able to update, at any time, to change goals and track your progress
  • Be able to add any new goals at any time
  • Mark them complete as you meet them

If you are not currently working with a Quality Improvement Consultant (QIC) from your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center, you can reach out to your Great Start to Quality Resource Center for support by calling 1-877-614-7328.  

Quality Improvement Specialists work at your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center.

They are able to:

  • Help you get started with participating in Great Start to Quality
  • Provide free help with completing your Self-Assessment Survey
  • Support you with finding professional development and training
  • Connect you with financial assistance opportunities (e.g. T.E.A.C.H., Child Development and Care (CDC) Program)
  • Help you access the Lending Library

Great Start to Quality recognizes programs may experience changes that could affect their published ratings. Programs and providers who meet specific criteria will have the option to apply for Reassessment prior to their two-year expiration date. 

What is Reassessment?

Reassessment is a process programs and providers go through when they have made any significant change that affects their published rating prior to their expiration date. You can apply for Reassessment on the Great Start to Quality STARS platform at any time after you have received your published rating unless you are in your 180 day Re-Rating time frame.

What are the criteria for Reassessment?

Programs and providers must meet one or more of the following criteria to apply for a Reassessment:

  • Key staff changes (examples: new lead and assistant teachers; new administrators)
  • Licensing capacity changes (examples: previously licensed to care for 50 children and now licensed for 100; decreased from licensed for 12 to licensed for 6)
  • Age range of the children changes (previously licensed to care for infants/toddlers only and now licensed to care for 3-5-year olds)
  • Proceed to participate in the validation process (example: previously declined or unable to contact for validation)
  • Proceed to participate in the On-site Assessment process (example: previously declined or postponed On-site Assessment)
  • Significant changes have been made in quality that would result in an increase in published quality rating
  • Classroom designation changes (example: multiple classrooms down to one or vice versa)

Need Visual Guidance? 

For a step-by-step visual guidance on applying for Reassessment, you can refer to the Reassessment Steps.

What is Re-Rating?

Re-Rating is the process programs and providers go through to renew their current published rating before the rating expires. 

The Re-Rating process can start 180-days prior to the two-year expiration date. The 180-day window allows you to maintain your current rating, while you are going through the Re-Rating process to receive a new, updated published rating. 

Programs and providers will receive an email notification to the primary contact’s email address (located on the STARS platform program profile page) to alert about being eligible for the Re-Rating process at 180, 90, and 30 days before the published rating expiration date.

Need more guidance?

The Great Start to Quality User Guide can provide you with more information and assistance with the Re-Rating process.  

Need Visual Guidance?

For a step-by-step visual guidance on applying for Re-Rating, you can refer to the Re-Rating Steps