"We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open."

- Harry Edwards

Why Care about Early Care and Education?

The experiences that young children have shape the architecture of their brains. Positive experiences build a sturdy foundation in the brain. With more children spending long hours in child care today than ever before, it is critical that early care and education programs offer high quality learning environments and create optimal learning experiences for all children. Research shows that young children who participate in programs with high quality learning environments are more likely to be prepared for school success, children who do not can be as much as 18 months behind when they arrive at school.
Every parent wants the best start in life for their child.
Quality Counts can help.
Quality Counts is a system of continuous quality improvement – CQI – for early care and education programs. Participating programs receive an assessment that results in a Star rating. An individualized Quality Improvement Plan is developed from the assessment. Specialized training, coaching, director network meetings, and relationship-based technical assistance are the components for quality improvement. Programs receive a Star Rating annually. Parents can use the Star Rating to help take the guess work out of choosing the child care that is right for their family.

Quality Counts Programs Complete Infant and Toddler Training

Congratulations to the following Quality Counts early care and education programs that have recently completed specialized training in infant and toddler care through the South Carolina Program for Infant and Toddler Care Network (SCPITC). The trainings are based in sound child development and family support research, theory and practice. The SCPITC promotes responsive, relationship-based approach to infant/toddler care. The SCPITC Network training is presented using a comprehensive series of

Quality Counts Hosts Intentional Teaching Seminar

High quality professional development on effective, evidenced-based practice was the theme for a recent Quality Counts seminar. On Saturday, May 31st more than 120 Quality Counts teachers and directors attended a seminar on Intentional Teaching. The seminar offered three tracks of training: infant/toddler, two year olds, and Pre-K. Each participant received 4 hours of high level training in their teaching area. Quality Counts was fortunate to have expert trainers who shared best practice strategies:

Quality Counts Directors Gather for Summer Network Meeting

Peter F. Drucker, best known for his philosophical influence on the business world, once said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” On July 17, 2014, I had the privilege to spend three hours with 34 very committed owners and directors of early care and education programs participating in Quality Counts. Participation in Quality Counts is voluntary, and while every participating program has an individualized Quality Improvement Plan, the goal for...

  • Key Indicators of Quality

    Click on the hands below to learn how key indicators of quality care and early education support Quality Counts’ Program Standards.

    Ratio and Group Size

    Good staffing ratios and small group sizes are important for high quality child care. Children learn best with individualized or small group instruction and care. The fewer the children per each adult, the better care and attention a child will receive. This is especially important for infants and toddlers who are part of our most vulnerable populations.


    Learning Environment

    A quality learning environment facilitates children’s growth and learning. It should be a safe and healthy space that offers age-appropriate materials and opportunities to stimulate children’s thinking while allowing them to play, explore, socialize, and experience new things.


    Family Engagement

    Parent involvement is a key component of high quality child care. Parent participation allows open lines of communication between a child’s caregivers and parents and fosters continuity between home and the child care program. Regular sharing of information and activities builds relationships and increases trust and comfort for all those involved.

    Program Administration

    High quality child care programs have effective leadership and management practices. Child care programs that have policies and procedures in place to support staff will ultimately result in program stability and better care for the children.

    Staff Qualifications

    The formal education of a child care teacher and director have a direct impact on the children in their care. Formal education can be obtained through universities, colleges, and community colleges. This education is in addition to the 15 hours of annual training required by the Department of social Services. Well-educated staff members with knowledge of early childhood education and development are better equipped to help young children learn and be successful in the future.

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