A program to improve early childhood education in Missouri has moved forward in the state senate and could be approved by the end of the week.
Senator Charlie Shields of St. Joseph wants to establish a Quality Rating System that rates early childhood programs and programs that are held before and after school. The top rating would be five stars. Shields says pilot projects in Kansas City and St. Joseph show the technical assistance available through the program advanced quality in the test centers by one and two stars.
The program provides grants to centers to upgrade their staff, facilities, and learning opportunities.
Shields says the goal is not to have all child care centers looks like KinderCare, which he says has nice stuff." But he says nice stuff does not necessarily indicate a child is having a quality learning experience. In fact, he says he has seen in his visits to child centers that some of the bet places were places operating in homes with five or six kids. "The interaction was tremendous," he has told the Senate. He says most people would not think of those places as worthy of five-star ratings because they lack "really nice toys and all that stuff." But he says, "that’s not what it’s all about."
The bill is SS/SCS/SB 726