QUALITYstarsNY Standards

The QUALITYstarsNY Standards were developed by leading experts in the field of early childhood development and learning across New York State to provide a common framework for the elements of high quality in early care and education programs. A program's rating is determined using a point system based on 75 different indicators, resulting in a one- to five-star rating with “five stars” denoting highest quality. To augment the rigor of the point system, an independent evaluation of a site's classrooms or a provider's home using the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) tool is used.

There are standards for center-based programs, including Head Start and pre-K, family home providers and primary schools with pre-kindergarten classrooms. The Standards for School Age Child Care programs is currently under development, and a draft version is currently available for download below.

The Interactive Standards

We've created a fully-interactive, online version of the center, family/home and public school standards. The interactive standards provides quick access to the standards information you are looking for, and contains additional helpful information and resources to enrich programs understanding of the standards, and guidance in meeting the program quality goals laid out in the standards.

Access the Interactive Standards

Print and Downloadable Standards

In addition to the three sets of standards currently in use, a draft of the School-Age Program Standards is available for download.

Abbreviated Standards

Programs that already comply with a set of quality standards through Head Start or either NAEYC or NAFCC Accreditation have a modified set of standards that takes into account the crossover between these and the QUALITYstarsNY standards.

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2018 Qualifications & Experience Standards Update

On December 3, 2018, QUALITYstarsNY updated its Qualifications & Experience (Q & E) Standards for Center-based and School-based early childhood programs to better align with the evolving early childhood field and workforce. The new Q & E Standards more appropriately reflect the diversity of educational experiences of early childhood teachers and administrators, while still upholding the research that proves that a workforce with specialized content knowledge in early childhood education is best prepared to promote optimal learning outcomes for young children.

Standards Categories

The Standards are organized into four categories: Learning Environment, Family Engagement, Qualifications and Experience and Management and Leadership, which are, in turn broken into standard categories. Read our standards overview to learn more about the content of each standard category. You can also download a one-page PDF overview of the standards categories.

Rating and Points

The standards provide the framework for the quality rating process. During the rating process, points are assigned to programs in the various standards categories. Learn more about how points are awarded, how they are distributed across the standards and what they mean for a program's final rating on our overview of the points.

The Development of the Standards

The standards were designed using information from a number of sources including, but not limited to: New York State regulations for child care and prekindergarten, New York City regulations, Head Start Program Performance Standards, the former Programs of Excellence, assessment tools such as the Program Administration Scale (PAS) and the Environment Rating Scales (ERS), and the accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Each Standard category section begins with a rationale statement that briefly details and substantiates the link between the individual standards and both program quality and child outcomes. Rationale statements for the Standard categories were adapted and paraphrased from the article:

Paths to QUALITY – A Child Care Quality Rating System for Indiana: What is its Scientific Basis? by James Elicker, Carolyn Clawson Langill, Karen Ruprecht and Kyong-Ah Kwon from the Center for Families and the Department of Child Development & Family Studies at Purdue University.

This report is available at www.cfs.purdue.edu