STARS is a major investment from GAR Foundation designed to engage a cohort of 24 community-based early learning centers in high-quality early childhood instructional development. STARS provides expert tools and support to help early learning centers navigate the state’s quality rating system, Step Up to Quality (SUTQ), and increase their ratings over the next two years.

Abacus Childcare Center
Abacus Infant/Toddler Center
Above and Beyond
Cascade Village YMCA
Emmanuel Christian Academy
Forward Thinking Caring Hearts
Glory Hallelujah Childcare
Grandma’s Place
Here For You Childcare
Hope Early Care & Education Center                      
Irma Jones Preschool
Kozmic Korner (East Akron)
Kozmic Korner (Downtown Akron)
Kozmic Korner (Fairlawn)
Little’s Academy
Lois Lester’s Learning Center
Once Upon A Daycare & Preschool Center
Rosa’s Playhouse
Salvation Army Learning Zone Preschool
The Growing Patch
Westminster YMCA
Wonder World
Wonder World Infant Center
YMCA Family Enrichment Center

Research tells us that high-quality teaching and engaged learning means better outcomes for kids and greater kindergarten readiness. We know that helping young children ages 3-5 get the right start is the most important investment we can make in the educational continuum.

A new state mandate will require early learning providers that receive public subsidy to enroll in SUTQ by 2020 and to earn three or more stars by 2025, in order to continue receiving public subsidy. While SUTQ is the current and best available common indicator of early learning quality, we also know that many centers cannot afford the training and necessary supports to improve their SUTQ ratings.

STARS helps alleviate the financial and capacity challenges many centers face to meet staff training requirements. This initiative complements the State of Ohio's $73 million annual investment in improving quality in early learning centers, so our initiative supports quality at community-based preschools, thereby lifting the entire local sector.

The STARS initiative addresses gaps in the early childhood education system, and seeks to demonstrate how effective teaching and engagement tactics can support meaningful educational advancements for young children. Our goal is to help our youngest children be ready for kindergarten through advanced teaching methods.