YMCA early learning centers in Middletown earn state’s highest rating

  • Wayne Baker
  • Staff Writer
12:00 a.m. Saturday, March 12, 2016 Community News

Two local childcare centers have been awarded the state’s highest rating through its Step Up to Quality preschool rating system.

Great Miami Valley YMCA’s early learning centers located at both Atrium Family YMCA and the Miami University Middletown campus have been awarded five-star ratings — the state’s highest.

“We are excited to be able to provide our community with the highest quality of early learning education to children at our Middletown and Atrium Early Learning Centers,” said Teresa Gagnon, Executive Director of Child Care Quality Assurance for Great Miami Valley YMCA.

Both programs use curriculum designed to prepare children for kindergarten, she said.

In 2020, Ohio will implement a mandate that any center receiving public funding or has students getting subsidized tuition by the state will need to get a rating.

The Step Up To Quality ratings system is based on how well a learning center teaches age-appropriate skills, according to the state. Participating programs can earn 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-star ratings by meeting Ohio’s quality program standards.

Three stars are considered above average, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), which administers the now-voluntary program that has the participation of more than 1,500 centers statewide.

Star ratings qualify that the learning center employs highly trained teachers, develops school readiness skills with the children, are committed to continuous improvement, and focus on family engagement, according to ODJFS.

“Achieving a five-star rating, the highest level a program can reach, shows a high commitment to providing quality education,” Gagnon said, adding that includes lower staff-child ratios, plans to support individual children’s growth and a commitment to families and community.

The Atrium Family YMCA Early Learning Center, located in Middletown, provides full-time child care and education to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old.

At the Middletown Area Family Early Learning Center located at Miami University Middletown, which has been accredited for the past six years, children ages 18 months to 5 years also receive full-time child care and education.