What is Quality and Why it Matters

A man reading to his child

The quality of interaction and engagement received during the first five years of a child’s life shapes their ability to succeed.

From the moment each baby is born, they begin learning to make sense of the world around them. Parents remain the most important influence in their children from birth through college. One of the most important decisions you can make for your children is the type of early care and education they receive. While location, cost, and availability are all critical factors, the quality of the program needs to be a primary consideration.

Child care programs which stimulate a child every day improve their physical, cognitive (learning), social and emotional development. With the right kind of engagement offered on a continuous basis, both you and your early learning program can help your child form a healthy foundation. A quality child care program makes a world of difference.

Choosing a quality early care and education program is a daunting task. Parents need to know what to look for in a quality program, and they must know the right questions to ask. Families should visit several different programs and providers before deciding. Watch the group activities, check the surroundings and the facility, and ask questions.

Using ExceleRate® Illinois, the state’s quality rating and improvement system can make your search easier because ExceleRate has done your homework. ExceleRate Illinois helps you find an early learning provider who makes quality a priority. Search the website and see what programs have been recognized with a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Circle of Quality.

Knowing the right questions to ask is key to finding a high-quality early care and education program. The following links provide resources and information to help you ask the right questions and find the best early care and education options: