Choosing an early child care and education provider is an important decision. Research shows that high-quality early care and education programs make children better prepared for school. The information below focuses on how to identify these programs.
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Any program with a star rating participates in Georgia’s Quality Rated and has agreed to meet standards that exceed the licensing requirements. While any rated program is of high quality, the stars mean:
One star - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets several quality benchmarks, and scores sufficiently on the independent observation.
Two stars - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets many quality benchmarks, and scores well on the independent observation.
Three stars - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets numerous quality benchmarks, and scores high on the independent observation.
Before you visit a facility, know that there are two types of child care programs in Georgia:
Family Child Care Learning Home
A program that operates in a private residential home. It provides care for 3 children, but no more than 6 for pay, under the age of 13, for less than 24 hours (may be open for 24 hours but may not care for an individual child for 24 hours).
Child Care Learning Centers
A program operated by an individual or business that provides group care for pay. These have seven or more children under 18 years of age, for less than 24 hours.
The Importance of a Licensed Program
Licensed child care facilities follow state licensing rules to ensure children are in a safe and healthy environment.
Licensed child care programs in Georgia:
- Receive a minimum of two unannounced inspections from the state of Georgia to ensure the program is following health and safety guidelines
- Are required to comply with state health and safety guidelines for child care
- Have child care program staff who are trained in CPR and First Aid, and have someone on premises with this training whenever children are present
- All child care program employees in a licensed facility must have a satisfactory criminal background check
- Routine cleaning and sanitation of indoor and outdoor play areas and equipment
- Prohibit smoking on premises during hours of operation
- Teachers and directors must have a minimum of 10 hours of professional child care and child development training a year
For more information about state licensing rules, click
Reading a Licensing Report
Have you ever looked up a licensing visit report and wondered, "What does this mean?"
Here's a quick breakdown
to help you understand one.