In print and social media, Parent Aware has been a hot topic in the past couple of weeks. Parent Aware is Minnesota’s early education Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). This system supports child care providers to demonstrate and improve the quality of their services. It provides parents with a way to select a child care program in their area that meets the needs of their family.
By: Nancy Jost, Early Childhood Coordinator for West Central Initiative
Remember the last time you bought a car? I’m guessing you started by thinking about what is best for you and your family. Perhaps you thought about a large vehicle for hauling the soccer team to tournaments, or a small, efficient car for taking the family on road trips. After listing your priorities, maybe you searched for online reviews of vehicles that met your needs. You likely read consumer reviews and picked up an auto magazine.
Macy started her child care program at age two, with no previous early learning experience. Since then, she’s blossomed. She is now the star student of her program and completely ready for kindergarten. An Early Learning Scholarship allowed her to start the program at a young age, since she lives in a Transformation Zone in Minnesota. Her family’s daily life would be completely different without it. It’s allowed her mother to work and go back to school, two things that would not be possible without the scholarship. Watch how her scholarships, combined with a high-quality program, have made all the difference for Macy.
A group of high ranking military generals residing in Minnesota sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to invest in Parent Aware, Minnesota’s quality rating system for all early learning programs. Their letter states:
We must close gaps first by supporting early learning programs already in place to reach our most at risk children. Child Care is an essential and large piece of this puzzle, providing quality early learning opportunities across Minnesota that focus on getting the whole child ready to succeed.
The April edition of Minnesota’s Future Policy Hour featured leaders from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) discussing Minnesota’s response to the federal reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program. In order to comply with federal changes to the program, the state must make changes to current law.
By: Ericca Maas, Executive Director of Parent Aware for School Readiness
When it comes to early learning, I’ve never met an early educator who didn’t want the best for the kids they serve. They have the will, but they don’t always know the way. Naturally, even highly skilled and experienced early educators simply can’t find time to continually track the latest child development research, so they don’t know precisely which best practices to use, and how best to use them. That’s why Minnesota needs to invest in making the Parent Aware Ratings as strong as possible.