What is high quality childcare?
York County, much like the rest of the country, is experiencing a severe deficit in the number of childcare facilities that are available for children and families. In fact, about 50 percent of Americans live in childcare deserts — areas where there are more than three kids for every one slot available.
"Access to early learning affects every sector’s ability to procure and maintain a productive workforce. Regardless of race and gender, although women and minorities bear the brunt of this issue, everyone loses their ability to be productive when they have no access to childcare.” said YDN President & CEO, Brian Grimm.
What is often missing from the conversation about access to childcare is the kind of childcare are we looking for. In the childcare industry the gold standard is what is known as High Quality. What does it take to be considered High Quality? York Day Nursery knows the answer.
High Quality Childcare is not babysitting
Research has shown us that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age 6 making the early years crucial for success later in life. To ensure that childcare facilities are providing the best possible services to families, Pennsylvania follows a 4-star rating system known as Keystone STARS.
"Keystone STARS is really a road map for how to deliver a top-tier program” explains YDN Vice President of Programming Lisa Rumsey. “STARS stands for standards, training, assistance, resources and support- and that is really what they deliver.”
York Day Nursery is proud to be a Keystone 4-STAR center, the highest rating possible. Achieving this rating means that YDN excels in a range of practices including child-teacher interactions, classroom environments, and business practices.
“We are always looking to improve,” Lisa says. “Every child who attends the Nursery deserves the best experience possible."
High-quality costs more money
If Pennsylvania is providing a roadmap for childcare centers to achieve high-quality, why don’t more centers participate? The answer is easy, it’s too expensive. High-quality standards mean investing more in teachers, continuing education, facility improvements, and more. In 2017 only 33% of childcare facilities in Pennsylvania had achieved a 3- or 4-star rating.
“Being the only independent nonprofit childcare center in York with a 4-STAR rating means we are able to serve high-needs families with the superior experience that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford." Says Brian. “Profit margins in this industry are low to non-existent. For-profit childcare centers only have two choices when it comes to finding funds to invest in quality. They either raise tuition or reduce overhead. Neither option benefits the students.”
High-quality happens at YDN
Not only is York Day Nursery a 4-STAR Center but we’re also accredited by NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a distinction achieved by only 8% of childcare centers nationwide. We maintain these distinctions so that we can deliver on our commitment to our families, teachers, and donors.
None of this work would be possible without the ongoing support of early-learning champions in our community. About 30% of our operating budget is dependent on fundraising, money that goes directly back to the families and teachers through low tuition and competitive wages.
"The community support is really what has made York Day Nursery last 90 years,” reflects YDN Vice President for Advancement, Laura O’Grady. “Throughout our history we see over and over again that groups of committed people have garnered the support needed to keep our operation running. That is no different today.”
If you would like to support the work of York Day Nursery, please consider a contribution. Donations can be made online by clicking here. We also ask you to consider including York Day Nursery in your will or estate plan to ensure your legacy continues through our work for generations to come.