Providers & Educators

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Great Start to Quality is here to help you reach your highest potential as a caregiver and early childhood educator.  Whether you work in a licensed early learning program or provide unlicensed, but publicly subsidized care, Great Start to Quality will help you give the best care you can.  Click here to view the latest Great Start to Quality FAQs.





IMPORTANT GREAT START TO QUALITY - Uploading Documents as Evidence of your Self - Assessment Survey

Important Great Start to Quality Changes – Uploading Documents as Evidence of your Self- Assessment Survey


Great Start to Quality Version 2.0 launched on June 10, 2013.  Version 2.0 included many changes that were informed by program/providers across the state.  Accompanying these changes is the requirement that documents that provide evidence of a program’s Self-Assessment Survey be uploaded by the program rather than retain paper documents to be reviewed on site during the Self-Assessment Validation.  This requirement supports the sustainable implementation of Great Start to Quality statewide and assists with expediting program ratings. 


The number of documents required will vary based on the program’s Self-Assessment Survey, number of classrooms, and number of staff.  Larger programs that self-assess at higher quality levels may be required to upload multiple documents to provide evidence of the indicators that are checked in the Self-Assessment Survey. 


It is important to note that some of the “Required Documents” listed as the program completes their Self-Assessment Survey may be captured in one document, for example, a program’s handbook or employment policies may contain information that can serve as evidence for multiple items, which will reduce the total number of required documents.  A program should upload only the minimum amount of documentation that is required to show evidence of the Self-Assessment Survey indicator they have selected.     


A program who has selected a multi-classroom Self-Assessment Survey is able to indicate when a document provides evidence of an indicator for more than one classroom, limiting the number of documents that the program is required to upload.


For additional guidance please review the Evidence Checklist by Indicator by clicking here.


Programs requiring assistance with identifying or uploading required documents may also contact their local Resource Center by visiting here or calling 1-877-614-7328.


Common Questions from Providers & Educators

Q.  Why is quality child care/preschool so important?

A.  A child's brain grows more in its first five years of life than it ever will again. By age 5, 90% of the brain's wiring has been set for life. How it is set depends on the child's early experiences. Loving and supportive people and settings help the brain grow.  Learn More


Q.  How does Great Start to Quality help my program?

A.  Great Start to Quality helps you assess and improve your program, and offers a rating system to demonstrate your success to parents and grow your business.  Learn More

Q.  How can I find out how my program rates?

A. Great Start to Quality ratings can be found at

Q.  What supports are available to help me improve my program?

A.  Great Start to Quality provides a roadmap for you to improve the quality of your program. Trained consultants are available to guide you through the rating process and steps to improve your ratings, including training opportunities and workforce development.  Learn More


Q. I am a GSRP, HS or NAEYC accredited program using an Approved Rater to conduct my PQA®.  I understand I need a Classroom ID for my PQA® score to count.  What is that and where do I find it?

A.   Alternate Path programs using an Approved Rater to conduct their Great Start to Quality Program Quality Assessment® (PQA®) must log into their STARS profile and locate the unique Classroom ID for each classroom to be assessed.

• The Classroom ID is automatically generated in the STARS platform and includes the program’s license number.

•  The program must provide the Classroom ID(s) to the Approved Rater.

•  The Approved Rater must enter the unique Classroom ID in the online PQA® for the classroom being assessed.

•  If the unique Classroom ID generated in the STARS platform is not used, the PQA® conducted by the Approved Rater will not count for Great Start to Quality.

Click here for step by step guidance on how to locate and use the Classroom ID. 


Today’s Play . . . Tomorrow’s Success!


Today’s play in early childhood is the best foundation for success in school.  Play develops many skills that are necessary for children to learn to read and write for success in math and science.  Play also develops behaviors that help children learn all school subjects.  This chart shows the skill that children are learning as they plan and the ways that these skills help children develop into better students.  This does not mean that preschoolers are ready to be taught to read and write.  It means that they are learning many of the things that will lead to success in elementary school by spending their time playing today.

Today’s play

(examples of play)

When children build with blocks, buildings, houses, cars, etc…

Helps preschool-age children learn


They are learning spatial relationships – learning to judge distance, space and size.


They are improving their visual memory – remembering what they see.


They are learning to achieve a self-selected goal – completing their own projects.


Leads to elementary school success


Understanding spatial relationships helps children to succeed in math and science.


Visual memory is needed for learning to read.


Independent completion of tasks is very important for success in all school subjects.


When children put blocks away onto labeled shelves…


They are learning to match, classify, and sort by shape and size.


Matching, classifying and sorting are important underlying skills for many types of learning, especially math and science.



When children play with small interlocking blocks…



They are improving their small muscle control – picking up and moving objects.


Good small muscle control is needed for learning to write.


When children work a puzzle…


They learn to stick to a job and complete it, and feel good about completing it.


They are learning to make figure-ground discriminations – noticing the difference between the background and the picture.



Children who are persistent learners do better in all school subjects.


Children need to make these type of distinctions to learn to recognize letters and to learn to read.


When children string beads…


They are improving their eye-hand coordination – their ability to use their eyes and hands together.



Eye-hand coordination is needed for learning to write.


When children mix two colors of paint to make another color




They are developing an understanding of cause and effect.


The foundation for science education is real-life experience with cause and effect.





Today’s play

(examples of play)

When children draw a picture of the sun…

Helps preschool-age children learn

They are learning to use pictures or symbols to represent their ideas.


Leads to elementary school success


Understanding that letters and words are symbols,and practice with using symbols is needed for children to learn to read and write.



When children pretend to write with markers and crayons…


They are learning directionality – the way that adults write across the page from left to right in English.


Understanding the directionality used in English gives children the background they need to make sense of reading and writing.



When children choose whatever they wish to do with art materials…


They are learning to make choices, to try out ideas, to plan and experiment.


Children who are independent learners and who can try out their own ideas are better learners in all school subjects.


When children play fireperson or adult roles…


They are developing perspective-taking skills – the ability to think about the way others act, think and feel, and develop empathy and feelings for others.


They are learning to use symbols to represent something else – a block can become a fire truck.


Children with perspective-taking skills understand that their teacher sees their work differently than they do.  This skill is needed for children to make use of the feedback about their work from their teacher.


Learning to use symbols is what learning to read and write is all about.



When children play restaurant together or play grocery store together…


They are improving their language skills.


They are learning how to work together to overcome problems.


They are developing an understanding of social expectations and the attitude of others, and they develop the ability to anticipate how to act in real-life situations.



Language skills underlie all learning in school.


Problem-solving skills help children to learn in every school subject.


Children become better at figuring out what is expected of them, academically and socially.


When children play in water…



They are learning conservation of volume – that no matter what size or shape the container is, a specific amount of water will not change.


They test, experiment and guess what will happen.



Conservation of volume is an important science concept.




This is the same process scientists use in research.


When children play in wet and dry sand…


They observe first-hand the changes that water makes to sand, learning that combining things together can create new and different things.



Observing changes when things are combined is just like many types of scientific experiments.




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