To participate in Parent Aware, child care and early education programs must meet basic child safety and health standards by being licensed for child care in the state of Minnesota, or by having their basic child safety and health standards monitored by another approved organization, such as Head Start, school districts, or charter school boards.
Determine your eligibility, then visit the Choose Your Path page to learn more.
Licensed Family Child Care and Child Care Centers
Licensed family child care and center-based programs can take the Full-Rating Pathway to receive a One-, Two-, Three- or Four-Star Rating. Programs may also choose to participate in Building Quality, which offers additional time and coaching to programs to learn and implement kindergarten readiness best practices before submitting documentation for their Rating.
Licensed Accredited Child Care
Licensed accredited family child care providers and licensed accredited child care centers can take the Accelerated Pathway to Rating (APR). With a current accreditation, these programs follow a streamlined process to earn a Four-Star Parent Aware Rating. The requirements of child care accreditation match or exceed the requirements of the Full-Rating Pathway.
Public School Pre-Kindergarten
Pre-kindergarten and preschool programs provided through public schools that meet Minnesota statues 124D.15 are eligible for the Accelerated Pathway to Ratings (APR) process. Public schools may offer many options for children and families, such as Family Literacy, extended day, and the School Readiness program. All of these programs must meet the School Readiness program requirements and be supervised by a licensed early childhood teacher and/or parent educator to be eligible for a Four-Star Parent Aware Rating. Ratings are valid for two years. Programs new to Parent Aware can apply for a Four-Star Rating at any time.
Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start and Early Head Start center-based programs and their partners –– apply for a Rating through the Automatic Pathway.
Charter schools must go through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) early childhood program recognition process before applying for a Parent Aware Rating. Once a charter school has received their recognition notification from MDE, they may apply for a Parent Aware Rating. Read more about charter school recognition.