Ohio has increased efforts to give parents guidance on how to select a preschool program that is right for their child. Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a voluntary 5-Star quality rating system, administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Education, that recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality benchmarks over and above minimum health and safety licensing standards. In 2020, the state will require a rating for all preschool centers that receive any public funding. The steps are based on national research identifying the program standards that lead to improved outcomes for children. Step Up To Quality is not a safety rating - those come from separate annual inspections of every licensed child care center.
These standards include:
- low child to staff ratios
- smaller group size
- higher staff education
- on-going specialized training
- improved workplace characteristics
- learning standards
The ratings are designed to help guide parents in the selection of a center that is right for their child, recognizing that the center isn't just having children play randomly, but that the children are playing and doing activities in ways that will help them to learn the skills appropriate for their age.