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Choose Your Path

We offer four different ways for programs to get a Rating. There is no cost to apply.

Full-Rating Pathway

The Full-Rating Pathway is for all licensed family child care and center-based programs wanting to earn a One-, Two-, Three- or Four-Star Rating. Programs can sign up for Parent Aware up to six months before starting a Full-Rating Cohort. Cohorts are six months long and start on January 1 or July 1 each year.

Programs can also choose to receive additional coaching through Building Quality to learn and implement kindergarten readiness best practices before joining a Cohort. Each option offers a different level of Quality Improvement Supports.

Find your best local contact.


Accelerated Pathway to Rating (APR)

The Accelerated Pathway to Rating (APR) is a streamlined process to earn a Four–Star Rating, and is available to licensed accredited child care and Public School Pre-Kindergarten programs.

These programs already meet or exceed most of the best practices required for a Rating, so they are able to move through the rating process more quickly. Eligible programs can apply anytime.

Accredited Child Care: Contact Nikki Lepowsky

Public School Pre-K: Contact MDE Early Learning


Automatic Pathway to Rating

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are eligible to receive a Four-Star Rating through the Automatic Pathway. These programs are rigorously monitored on an regular basis and must meet federal regulations that match or exceed best practices required for a Parent Aware Rating.

Contact MDE Early Learning


Expedited Pathway to Rating

The new Expedited Pathway is designed specifically for owners who oversee multi-site centers with Three- or Four-Star Ratings and may be looking to expand to offer child care in additional locations. Expedited Ratings will be available to licensed child care centers that:

  • Are newly opened and actively serving children. This means that the site’s license has been active for no more than six months and is currently providing child care services to children.
  • Have an owner that is legally responsible for multiple licensed child care centers with a Three-or-Four Star Parent Aware Rating.
  • Employ a director with at least one year of verified experience in Develop, Minnesota’s Quality Improvement and Registry Tool (, as a director, assistant director, or education coordinator of a Three-or-Four Star Rated child care center.
  • Have a license in good standing. This means the program has no negative actions or maltreatment findings.

Eligible programs that apply will receive a Three-or-Four Star Parent Aware Rating that is valid for two years as long as programs meet two requirements within six months of receiving the Rating:

  • All Lead Teachers must have 50 hours of training within the past five years.
  • All preschool classrooms must receive a CLASS observation from the University of Minnesota Center for Early Education and Development and meet minimum scores for in the Instructional Support Domain of the CLASS. Coaching on CLASS will be available to preschool teachers at no charge.

Contact Nikki Lepowsky

Get Started

Recruiters are here to answer your questions and start you on the journey to a Rating.

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