ELRC 15 Delaware County

Standards  •  Benefits  •  Renew  •  Move Up  •  Alternate Pathways

Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in the state. The program is proven to increase the quality of early learning programs in Pennsylvania and provides parents with a tool to gauge the quality of care and early education their child will receive.

The following eligible programs demonstrate their ability to maintain a foundation for a safe and healthy environment for children and will automatically be designated a STAR 1. Programs may choose to participate in ongoing quality improvement activities to obtain a STAR 2, 3 or 4.

  • DHS-certified child care providers with a full certificate of compliance
  • Early Head Start and Head Start sub grantees in substantial compliance with no deficiencies
  • Preschool programs licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in good standing

The Keystone STARS Performance Standards are intended to support your program in developing a meaningful, individualized Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQI Plan). They were written to be respectful of the broad diversity of early care and education providers in Pennsylvania. The Performance Standards are grouped into four levels: STAR 1 (Certification Compliance), STAR 2 (Programs at this level must address a group of required quality standards), STAR 3, and STAR 4 (Programs at these levels earn points by choosing from a set of recommended quality standards). The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early care and education program, partnerships with families and communities, and leadership and management. Each level builds on the previous level and utilizes research-based best practices to promote quality early learning and school-age environments and positive child outcomes. CLICK HERE to learn more about Keystone STARS.


Keystone STARS Standards and more

To learn more about Keystone STARS please click below:

CLICK HERE for the PAKeys Website. 


What are the BENEFITS of Keystone STARS?

Quality early care and education benefits everyone and serves as an economic development strategy for Pennsylvania.

Benefits for Children and Families

  • Quality early care and learning promotes healthy child development and early learning;
  • STAR designations help families find quality child care for their children; and
  • Reliable quality child care allows families to focus on work, have fewer absences and be more productive.

Benefits for Providers

  • Customized support and assistance to individual programs;
  • Grants, awards and other financial supports as available;
  • Supportive professional development;
  • Outreach and marketing to families;
  • A road map for strengthening the quality of care and an opportunity for lifting up the child care profession and child care system; and
  • Increased Child Care Works (CCW) payments based on eligibility and quality level.


 Time to RENEW? 

Renewal-MAINTAIN same STAR level (STAR 1)
You don't need to do a thing. Your STAR will automatically be renewed. However, when you are ready to begin working with a Quality Coach to move up to STAR 2, please contact us via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Renewal-MAINTAIN same STAR level (STAR 2, 3, 4) 
No site visit required. Please log into your organization profile on the PDRegistry and contact your Quality Coach via email.

CLICK HERE for the registry. 


Ready to MOVE UP?

MOVE UP STAR level (STAR 2, 3, 4)
Begin by contacting your Quality Coach via email. Then log into the PD Registry to 

Alternate Pathway to STARS Designation 

If your program is currently accredited through an OCDEL approved accrediting agency then you may be ready to move directly to STAR 4. For a comprehensive list of approved agencies CLICK HERE and go to page 47. To move forward with this process please contact your Quality Coach. Staff Directory