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STARS: STep Ahead Recognition System


STARS is Vermont’s Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS) 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.

STARS Revision

On July 1, 2023, the Child Development Division (CDD) launched a revision to 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.  

STARS Revision Acclimation Period

A STARS Revision Acclimation Period has been extended through June 30, 2025. The acclimation period allows programs to navigate changes in the new model with coaching support at their current STARS level.

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

Live Training Sessions

The live sessions count towards professional development hours as required by Vermont Child Care Licensing Regulations. 

Next session: 

STARS Office Hours

Beginning March 21, join the CDD STARS team on Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to answer questions about the program. Join the sessions via Teams.

STARS Communities of Practice

Work together with peers and SPARQS and CDD STARS team members to develop your program’s STARS-approvable CQI Plan over 4 (changed from 5) monthly sessions. Attendance at all 4 sessions is required. Learn more and register online.

Dates and times: 

  • April 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Please note that the April session has been canceled and will not be rescheduled. 
  • May 22, 5-7 p.m. 
  • June 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • July 10, 5- 7 p.m. 
  • August 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 

Training Videos

Training videos on YouTube (Subscribe to our Channel):

Resources and Tools

Templates and Examples

Apply to STARS

Complete the online STARS application!

Questions or Feedback