What is High Quality Child Care?

What is Quality Child Care?

As a parent, you have the most influence on your child's development from infancy to adulthood. And one of the first important decisions you will make is choosing the best early learning setting (sometimes referred to as a child care, pre-k or preschool) for your child's birth to preschool years.

Quality child care is offered everywhere!

In Illinois, you can find quality child care in:

Child Care Centers & Programs - Provide care for groups of children outside of a residential setting. Children are usually grouped by age. Types of centers include: child care, Early Head Start/Head Start, State pre-kindergarten, preschools, school age programs, and summer programs.

  1. Licensed Child Care Centers - must meet Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) standards for health and safety including child to staff ratios and required space per child.
  2. Licensed-Exempt Child Care Centers - are also recognized by Illinois, such as those serving children 3 years and older and operated by public or private elementary or secondary schools, faith based organizations, institutions of higher education of other accredited schools registered with the Illinois State Board of Education. Since these settings are not licensed by IDCFS, they are not held to standards for staff to child ratios or maximum group size set by IDCFS.
  • Family Child Care - Child care is offered in a homelike setting.
  1. Licensed Family Child Care - may care up to eight children (including their own, or up to 12 children) with an assistant.
  2. License-Exempt Family Child Care - (such as Family, Friend and Neighbor) may care for three or fewer children (including their own), or children from one family. This care can be offered in the caregiver's home or in the child's home.

Quality can be seen when best practices are put to good use! Check these out!

Why Quality Child Care Matters?

From the moment a babies are born, they begin a complex and critical process to make sense of the world around them. New research is science and brain development shows that how you and others engage with your baby from infancy through the first five years of life, shapes a child's ability to be successful throughout their school years and throughout life.

Children need to be stimulated every day in ways that help them with their physical, cognitive (intellectual), social and emotional development. You and your child care provider can help your child form a healthy foundation of neural pathways in the brain. These brain connections impact a child's ability to think, react process and grow throughout the life.

What is ExceleRate Illinois?

ExceleRate Illinois is a state-wide quality recognition and improvement program system designed to make continuous quality improvement an everyday priority among early learning and child care providers. The program establishes standards for helping children develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. It provides a framework for early learning and child care professionals to identify opportunities for improvement, increase their skills, and take steps to make positive changes.

Some child care programs and providers are in ExceleRate Illinois, but not all. You can find out more providers by clicking here.

*Need help navigating this Website? Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency (CCR&R).