Pre-K Information for Parents

Looking for a Pre-K school for your children? Just like elementary school, Pre-K programs are diverse and unique. CSFP partners with many schools who offer Pre-K programs. Use these resources to learn about the types of Pre-K available in Philadelphia, and why quality Pre-K matters. 

General info on STARS – Keystone STARS is a useful tool for families to measure the quality of Pennsylvania’s early learning programs. Keystone STARS programs are rated STAR 1, 2, 3, or 4… the more STARS a program receives, the more quality services and benefits they provide!

Difference in STARS levels/what STARS means for families

Star 1 Program

  • State licensed program

Star 2 Program

  • STAR 1 requirement AND
  • Families receive a Family Handbook
  • Parent - Teacher communication (at least 1)
  • Children receive a developmental progress review
  • Behaviour management plans are implemented
  • Children receive support when transitioning to kindergarten
  • Staff receive ongoing professional development

Star 3 Program

  • STAR 2 requirements AND
  • Parent- Teacher Communication (at least 2)
  • Classroom observations
  • All teachers have at least an Associate’s Degree in child development (or related field)
  • A family group (like a home and school group) exists to help with program activities
  • Offers family workshops throughout the year
  • Families receive consistent communication on their child’s early care and education goals, curriculum, and other activities through regular letters, newsletters, and flyers

Star 4 Program

  • STAR 3 requirements AND offers extra benefits like
  • The program is a Green facility (environmentally friendly)
  • The program provides nutritional health practices for children (such as education about organic or homegrown foods, obesity prevention activities) and more...

General information about ECE/success later in life:

The brain develops rapidly during the first 5 years of a child’s life. During that time, the human brain undergoes rapid development; it’s a period when a child builds cognitive skills — the foundation for reading, math, science and academics — as well as character skills, social-emotional growth, gross-motor skills and executive functioning, which includes everything from impulse control to problem solving. Quality ECE would mean that these skills would be developed in a safe and nurturing environment with qualified educators equipped to deal with children at any and every level of this development.

CSFP ECE listing (with our STARS schools highlighted)

Great Philly Schools ECE center – This part of the Great Philly Schools website provides information on Early Childhood Care in Philadelphia – including the difference between Child Care and Pre-K, how to choose a quality provider, information on financial aid, and more.

Pennsylvania Compass – This state-provided website allows you to search for childcare and early learning providers and see whether you qualify for financial assistance.

What to look for in an ECE center? – There’s lots of information in finding the best place for your child’s needs. Follow these five steps in selecting a childcare provider suggested by the state or review recommendations from Great Philly Schools.

Contact Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agency at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS to apply for financial assistance or directly on the state’s website.

Consider applying for PHL Pre-K—the city’s FREE quality Pre-K program.