Quality Matters

Quality matters.

Early child care and education is crucial to a child’s future success, with 90 percent of brain development occurring before age 5. Early learning builds the foundation for skills needed in school, work and life.

Children who receive quality early child care and education are more likely to:

graphic wheel showing why quality matters

The need for quality is clear.

While the majority of Nebraskans believe quality early child care is very important, only 10 percent strongly agree that young children in our state are prepared to be successful when they begin kindergarten.

Parents believe their local child care providers could do better when it comes to quality. Only 15 percent of Nebraskans are very satisfied with the quality of early child care and education programs where they live.

What does quality look like?

Curriculum. Providers should utilize an evidence-based curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, aligned with the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines and incorporates child nutrition and physical activity.

Learning environments. Whether in a family child care home, a child care center or a preschool, providers should adapt learning activities to meet the needs of individual children.

Teacher-child interactions. Teachers should actively engage children in everyday learning with effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development.

Child outcomes. Early child care providers and educators should be knowledgeable of developmental milestones and regularly assess and communicate about children’s skills, strengths and needs.

Professional development and training. Programs should be staffed with knowledgeable, effective and professional staff who pursue lifelong learning.

Family engagement and partnerships. Providers and educators should maintain collaborative relationships with families to help support each child’s learning and development.

Program administration. Quality early child care providers carefully select and guide staff and substitutes. They implement sound business practices for managing income, expenses and facility maintenance.

Step Up to Quality has ignited my passion for pursuing a higher level of child care that EVERY child deserves.

— Family child care home provider, Step 2, Gothenburg