LINCOLN — Step Up to Quality, Nebraska’s quality rating and improvement system for child care and early childhood education providers, has reached a significant milestone: More than 500 programs across the state are participating, and have been rated, according to a press release.
“This achievement means that thousands of children in Nebraska are receiving the best possible care in their most formative years,” Step Up to Quality Director Lauri Cimino said in a press release.
The Step Up to Quality process challenges providers to go above and beyond licensing requirements and adopt a mindset of continuous improvement of their program, even when they’ve reached the pinnacle of Step 5. Programs enrolled in Step Up to Quality receive specialized training, access to resources and financial incentives.
“We celebrate all of the providers in each of the five steps. No matter where providers are at along the Step Up to Quality path, they’re demonstrating a clear commitment to doing the best they can for the children in their care,” Cimino said.
Research about early childhood education is clear about the importance of quality early childhood education. According to Johns Hopkins University, “researchers have learned that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age.”
Children who receive quality care from when they are babies through preschool have a stronger foundation from which to grow. High quality early childhood education closes the achievement gap by helping children develop the cognitive and social skills necessary for school readiness and success later in life.
Parents searching for child care in Nebraska can find the list of participating programs at stepuptoquality.ne.gov.