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Quality Counts: Supporting Early Care and Education in San Luis Obispo County

Educational Support Services

Lauren Thorne

Certificated Sr. Grant Coordinator

Quality Counts San Luis Obispo is part of a statewide system of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), which helps to inform and connect parents and families to high-quality early learning and care programs, and ensures that infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children have quality early learning experiences in their local communities. Quality Counts San Luis Obispo also provides resources and support to early learning and care professionals so they can create nourishing and effective early learning and care programs that will help children to grow and thrive.

Why does quality matter?
High-quality early learning and care environments can have a lifelong, positive impact on young children, their families, and their communities. Research continues to show that children in quality early learning and care settings are more likely to succeed in school and less likely to drop out, need remedial education, or end up in prison.

How can Quality Counts meet the county’s diverse needs?
Quality Counts California recognizes that, given the size of California and the diversity of its communities, a one-size-fits-all approach to improving program quality is not appropriate. So, while there are common elements across local quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs), such as the basic program standards used in assessing program quality, those developing and managing a QRIS have the flexibility to tailor quality improvement supports to their local needs.

What are some elements of quality in early learning and care settings?

  • The program and staff involves families to enrich children’s learning experiences.
  • Teachers have individual time with children.
  • The program is licensed and in good standing.
  • Teachers have professional development opportunities.
  • Program evaluations are conducted for making data-driven decisions for ongoing improvement.
  • Developmental monitoring/screenings are conducted inclusive of families and includes follow-up referrals.
  • Activities are driven by children’s needs and interests.

Participating in Quality Counts can help early learning and care settings in many ways, from demonstrating a commitment to quality and increasing positive child outcomes, to increasing enrollment, scholarships, and ongoing professional development opportunities.

What does quality mean to you and why is it important for our community? 
Come join SLO County agencies as they gather to dialogue about quality care in SLO County but also the crisis behind early care and education issues SLO County is facing.

The “Where’s the Care?” Town Hall will highlight the urgency of early child care and education issues in SLO County, including lack of accessibility and affordability for families, and a persistent workforce crisis in the early childhood education field. The evening will define and examine existing challenges, and launch concrete action planning to mobilize innovative solutions within our community.
Families, employers, civic leaders, educators (early childhood, K-12, and higher education), regional planners, students, and other advocates for a thriving community are encouraged to attend.

Free, but advance registration required.

Link to registration:

Lauren Thorne
Early Learning Educational Support Coordinator
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

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