The Indy Lab, located in Westchester County, began their journey as a Start With Stars program. In May 2024, they earned their first Active Rating with QUALITYstarsNY as a 4-Star program! They were able to enhance their learning environment with high-quality furniture from QUALITYstarsNY and guidance from their Quality Improvement Specialist, Miriam Kerness, on how to arrange interest centers for play and learning. Here are some words they shared about their experience:

“QUALITYstarsNY was instrumental to our overall growth and success as a new school in the area. Without them, we could not have achieved the high-quality curriculum goals and excellence-in-practice standards that we were aiming for. When we began as a Start with Stars program, we were largely unsure of how and what we would gain. Over the course of a year, we learned to lean on our Specialist to problem-solve, redefine and clear up aspects of the program that needed attention.

High-quality furniture, every room has clear interest centers

QUALITYstarsNY helped get our rooms from donated materials that lacked luster and utility to brand new wooden and robust furniture that allowed us to use our spaces properly for the multiple programs that run through it on a daily basis. More so, QUALITYstarsNY taught us the importance of materials and namely, their placement, appearance, grouping and accessibility across predefined interest areas [to maximize children’s play and curiosity].

Through rigorous implementation and practice, we realized these interest areas and materials were well curated and designed to help us manage our classroom better – the children’s behavior improved, the teachers were more relaxed and the learning that took place was far more child-led and experiential in nature.

Finally, QUALITYstarsNY has inspired three teachers to go back to school because of their dedication and commitment to learning. Their emphasis and ability to fund engaging and practical learning experiences for our teachers helped them see the utility in going back to school to become better early childhood educators. All in all, we couldn’t recommend QUALITYstarsNY participation enough!”

– Frida Matute, Director of The Indy Lab