Tahoe Forest Children’s Center receives national five-star rating for excellence in 43 standards | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Forest Children’s Center receives national five-star rating for excellence in 43 standards

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE – Tahoe Forest Children’s Center (TFCC) is the first Children’s Center in Eastern Nevada County to receive a Quality 5-Star Rating Certification from the Quality Star Rating initiative, administered through the Child Care Coordinating Council. The recognition came after the completion of a pilot program designed to evaluate quality care environments for infants and children of Nevada County families.

“What this means is that each classroom performs at a very high quality in 43 standard areas such as curriculum, safety, environment, relationships, hygiene, child’s health, to name a few,” said Rebekah Shurtleff, director, Tahoe Forest Children’s Center. “We proudly display our 5-Star Certification and strive daily to exceed those standards.”

The Quality Star Rating initiative (administered through the Child Care Coordinating Council), invites child care programs to participate in a rigorous process to evaluate the environment of care provided. Funded by First 5 Nevada County, assessment is made through observation and considers the interactions, experiences, materials and activities available to children using a nationally recognized tool developed at the University of North Carolina (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale or ECERS).

The February 2009 issue of On The Capital Doorstep included an article “Quality Rating System Lessons Learned” and stated: “Studies regarding early care and education are continuously showing high-quality care produces ‘positive developmental outcomes for children’ and is a critical factor in a child’s readiness for school. This voluntary program has been designed to educate child care providers to utilize a tool to look at the quality of the environment and to support parents in identifying quality child care.”

This rating system is just one tool available to help families evaluate quality child care. American consumers are accustomed to using a number of stars when automobile safety, hotels, restaurants and movies – making the Quality Star Rating a familiar measuring stick.

“Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years of life. What parents and caregivers do during these years to support their child’s growth will have a meaningful impact throughout life,” said Marcia Westbrook, child care coordinator, Nevada County. “The quality of care affects the way children think, learn and behave, and educated, quality care increases the likelihood of success in school and later in life. A high quality program has the capability of promoting trust, autonomy and a true sense of happiness and well-being in children.”

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Nevada County’s Star Rating Program was born from the collaborative efforts of a number of agencies and programs committed to ensuring that Nevada County children have access to quality care. Currently, all but four states have implemented, or are in the process of designing or piloting, a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). In California there are several ideas in the design stage, and a number of counties have already established such systems.

For more information contact: Quality Star Rating, c/o Child Care Coordinating Council, 640 E. Main Street, Suite 3 in Grass Valley at 530-271-0258.

For more information about Tahoe Forest Health System and Tahoe Forest Children’s Center, visit http://www.tfhd.com. Tahoe Forest Children’s Center was established in 1991.

-Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com