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STARS: STep Ahead Recognition System

STARS is Vermont’s Quality Recognition and Improvement System for child care, preschool, and afterschool programs.

Participation in STARS means that a program is striving beyond licensing regulations to meet higher quality standards, uphold professional practices, and commit to continuous quality improvement.

What STARS Means For You

STARS helps you look at your program objectively and identify strengths and areas for improvement. STARS then gives you the resources for your program to reach even higher quality care standards. Through participation in STARS your program will: 

  • Gain local and statewide recognition for quality 
  • Be eligible for financial rewards (e.g., higher child care financial assistance capped rates) 
  • Find a path for continuous quality improvement 
  • Access grant opportunities 

Where To Start

Start by reviewing the following:

STARS Standards

Application Instructions

When you are ready to apply you can complete the online application. No application fee is required.

STARS Application Form

Additional Resources

Where To Get Help

Contact the STARS team at or 1-800-649-2642 option 8.