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Program Standards

What are "Program Standards"? 

Program standard points are based on an evaluation of the daily environment at your child's program. This includes:

  • The Program Environment
  • Sufficient space for activities
  • Age/Developmentally appropriate equipment and materials
  • Age/Developmentally appropriate activities and activity areas and schedule
  • Safe, healthy, and comfortable indoor/outdoor play area
  • The Number of Staff per Child
  • The Interactions Between
  • Adults and children
  • Children with other children
  • Children with activities and materials

Programs wanting to earn higher star ratings must complete environmental rating scales.


What is An Environment Rating Scale?

Environment rating scales are nationally recognized tools used to measure the quality of care offered by programs. These quality assessment scales were developed through the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Trained evaluators visit programs to observe the children and their environment. Evaluators score programs on how well, or how often, certain things occur. For example, evaluators will:

  • Determine if good health practices, such as handwashing, are followed when children are diapered or fed
  • Watch how the caregivers interact with the children and whether they respond to the children's needs
  • Observe activities to see whether the children have opportunities to play and learn according to their levels of development
  • Evaluate the safety of the indoor and outdoor area

For more information on the rating scales, visit the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project web site.

How Did Your Child's Facility Score in the Area of Program Standards?

  • If your child's center or family child care home has a star rated license, look to see how many points were earned for program standards
  • A child care facility is eligible for a rated license of two through five stars, so be sure to recognize your provider's achievements. Earning more points in program standards means that your provider has chosen to do more in order to offer higher quality child care
  • If your provider has not earned higher points in program standards, ask what their plans or goals are for the future in this area





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919-814-6300 | 1-800-859-0829 (In State Only)

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