When choosing child care and early education programs, cost and convenience are important considerations for you, the parent. However, the ultimate value a program can offer you and your child is the quality of the care and education it provides.
High-quality programs engage not only with the children but with families, who are their child’s first teachers. They use community resources to enrich the experiences and learning opportunities for children. Staff members in high-quality programs have the education and experience to understand child development and offer learning activities that are appropriate for the age and developmental stage of each child.
Maryland EXCELS helps families find child care and early learning programs that provide high quality environments that welcome children of all abilities and cultures and supports the development of each and every child. Maryland EXCELS was developed to bring nationally accepted indicators of quality into a system that builds on the strong foundation of the state’s licensing standards, and creates a framework for programs to improve their practices no matter where they are on the quality spectrum.
Maryland EXCELS also helps families look at the quality of programs when making decisions about child care and early education programs. Quality comes in many different varieties: in center-based programs, family child care homes, school-age before- and after-school programs, Head Start, non-public nursery schools, or public prekindergarten programs. What works for one family may not work for another, but one thing remains the same -- the need for high quality care and education that prepares children for success in school and life.
Five quality levels (1 to 5) define a pathway for program improvement and include standards for licensing compliance, staff qualifications, family engagement, positive guidance for children, curriculum, learning environment, and program accreditation.
Learn more about Maryland EXCELS here.