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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.


On July 1, 2023, the Child Development Division (CDD) launched a revision to Vermont’s Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS), known as STARS.

The revised model reflects the unique culture and identity of quality practices in Vermont’s early childhood and afterschool programs and offers equitable opportunities for programs and providers to participate. The system focuses Vermont’s efforts more closely on positive outcomes for children, engagement of families, and support of our early childhood and afterschool programs.  

Pilot Period

A pilot period has been extended past the first year of the STARS revision and will now end on June 30, 2025. The pilot period allows programs to become familiar with the new system and for CDD to test new materials and processes.

Participating programs will maintain their current STARS levels during the pilot period. The STARS Team will contact programs due to renew their STARS certificates to offer training and guidance, and to introduce new resources. 

STARS Trainings

New Round of Live Training Sessions

See the chart for session dates and links to register. The live sessions count towards professional development hours as required by Vermont Child Care Licensing Regulations. 

Training Videos

Training videos on YouTube (Subscribe to our Channel):

Tools & Resources

Apply To STARS

Complete the online STARS application!

Questions or Feedback