Background: Initially launched in 2012, the Quality Rated (QR) program in Georgia is a policy tool for assessing, improving, and communicating the quality of early childhood education and care. Star level designations – zero-star, one-star, two-star, and three-star – are assigned based on a portfolio of QR standards and an onsite Environment Rating Scales observation. In the present study, we used QR data to determine if childcare quality measures (QR ratings) are linked with the readiness of children to enter kindergarten.

Methods: QR data were collected from one-star, two-star, and three-star childcare learning centers (n = 16) located within Child Care Resource and Referral Regions 3 and 5 in Georgia. The Bracken School Readiness Assessment – 3rd Edition (BSRA-3) was administered to each child (n =318) eligible for inclusion. Height and weight information (n =335) was collected before assessment. Multilevel analyses were used to establish whether children in programs that score higher on QR (0 to 3 stars) show better school readiness (i.e., by BSRA-3 assessment or body mass index) than peers in programs with lower scores.

Results: For the children, there were no significant differences in scores of school readiness based on the QR of childcare and learning centers.

Conclusions: The results reinforce the need for continued research of the childcare QR system in Georgia to inform stakeholders in early childcare and education about ways to enhance the quality of early child care and to improve the long-term educational and health outcomes of children across the state. Future studies should examine a larger sample size, which would allow for more precise, multilevel analyses.

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