Seeing STARS | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Seeing STARS 

The grade on Vermont's childcare, preschool and after school programs

Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) is designed to help parents evaluate programs that care for their kids. Sponsored by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, STARS assigns star rankings to participating childcare, preschool and after school programs.

The process is much more thorough than a simple site visit. To receive a ranking, programs must complete an application that assesses progress in five areas: compliance with state regulations, staff qualifications and training, communication and support of children, families and communities, providers' self-assessments and plans for improvements, and the strength of a program's operating policies and business practices. Simply by completing the process, programs demonstrate a desire to go above and beyond the minimum state standards.

The STARS coordinators assign applicants one to five stars. A single star means a program is new or examining its practices and working to improve them; a five-star ranking signifies that a program is established and outstanding in all areas. A ranking is good for three years, though each applicant must complete an annual review to maintain it.

STARS helps parents assess a program's quality and professionalism, and it can also save them money. Parents who meet the state's income eligibility guidelines may pay less for childcare if they enroll their children in programs with three, four or five stars.

Each month, Kids VT publishes an excerpt of the list of STARS participants. This month's "Seeing STARS" features participating programs in Burlington. Find more information about STARS, and a complete list of rankings, at dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/stars.

Maureen Danielczyck
  • Maureen Danielczyck

Shining Star: Trinity Children's Center

  • 34 Fletcher Place, 656-5026
  • Type of program: Childcare center
  • Age range of children: 3 to 5 years
  • Last field trip: ImagineOcean at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
  • Favorite-rainy day activities: Puddle walk; dance parties; "Big Blue," the tumble mat
  • Favorite children's book authors: Eric Carle, Tomie de Paola
  • Most recent staff development activity: Shelburne Farms' Project Seasons, and Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood: A Multi-Cultural Training

Burlington STARS Participants

Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, Inc.
62 Oak Street, 864-5263
★ ★ ★ ★

Bright Beginnings Child Care and Preschool
31 Barley Road, 864-0728
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Burlington Children’s Space
241 North Winooski Avenue, 658-1500
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Burlington Kids at Champlain School
800 Pine Street, 865-7095
★ ★ ★

Burlington Kids at C.P. Smith Elementary School
332 Ethan Allen Parkway, 316-1512
★ ★ ★

Burlington Kids at Edmunds School
299 Main Street, 316-1510
★ ★ ★ ★

Burlington Kids at J.J. Flynn School
1645 North Avenue, 864-8500
★ ★

Burlington Kids at the Sustainability Academy
123 North Street, 324-6723
★ ★ ★

Burlington School District EEE Program
150 Colchester Avenue, 864-8463
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Champlain Valley Head Start at Franklin Square
Franklin Square, 540-3049
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Donna’s Labor of Love Child Care Services
414 Flynn Avenue, 660-9621
★ ★ ★ ★

Heartworks School, Burlington Site
102 Lake Street, 985-2143
★ ★ ★ ★

H.O. Wheeler Preschool
6 Archibald Avenue, 864-8475
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

J.J. Flynn Preschool
1645 North Avenue, 864-8500
★ ★ ★ ★

King Street Center, Inc.
87 King Street, 862-6736
★ ★ ★ ★

Little Tuttle Homecare
94 Richardson Street, 999-3360
★ ★ ★

Lund Early Childhood Program
76 Glen Road, 864-7467
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Marta’s Bi-Lingual Day Care
179 Sandra Circle, 864-9667
★ ★

Pine Forest Children’s Center
208 Flynn Avenue, Suite 2F, 651-9455
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Robin’s Nest Children’s Center
20 Allen Street, 864-8191
★ ★ ★ ★

Sara Holbrook Community Center
66 North Avenue, 862-0080
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Sunshine Day Dream Child Care
1085 Pine Street, 862-6908
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Trinity Children’s Center
34 Fletcher Place, 656-5026
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

UVM Campus Children’s Center
UVM, 633 Main Street, C150
Living & Learning, 656-4050
★ ★ ★ ★

Y Early Childhood Program at College Street
266 College Street, 862-8993, ext: 148
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Y Early Childhood Program at College Street Congregational
38 South Winooski Avenue, 862-8993, ext. 148
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Y Early Childhood Program at St. Paul
81 St. Paul Street, 862-8993, ext. 148
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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