Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What is a star rating?

Child care and preschool providers are scored based on a set of indicators that cover the following areas: Staff Qualifications, Family and Community Partnerships, Administration, Environment, and Curriculum, Screening and Assessment. The scores in each area are combined to give them a star rating.

How can I receive more information?

There are ten Great Start to Quality Resource Centers across eleven regions throughout Michigan. Each resource center is available to help programs, providers and families obtain resources, additional information and navigate Great Start to Quality. You can contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center by calling 1-877-614-7328.

Why is Great Start to Quality Important?

Great Start to Quality measures the quality of early childhood programs and providers in Michigan by using more than 40 program quality indicators in specific areas. This allows families to find quality child care that meets their needs, and allows programs and providers to ensure they are providing children with the best care possible.

Family FAQs

What are the ratings and what do they mean?

Based on a program's Self-Assessment Survey, Validation and possible on-site assessment, each program is given a Great Start to Quality Star Rating. These ratings range from an Empty Star (not participating) to 5 stars (highest quality). The standards they aim to meet are high, and reaching each level can take some time. All participating programs are committed to quality and making improvements to help prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. Great Start to Quality stresses that ratings are just one of several factors to consider in finding the right program for your family’s needs.

Where can I find a star rated program?

Great Start to Quality allows you to search all licensed and registered providers in Michigan. You can search in the ways that are most important to you, whether it is by area, providers who accept payments from the state or those who have experience working with children who have specific needs to be met.

Why do some programs have an Empty Star?

All licensed and registered programs and providers in Michigan initially appear on Great Start to Quality as an Empty Star, meaning they are licensed and registered. If a program or provider chooses to participate in the Great Start to Quality rating process, they will then receive their published rating on a scale of one- to five-stars.

What is an accredited program?

If a program is accredited it means they choose to be monitored at the national level, holding themselves to higher standards than what is required by the state licensing system.

How do programs and providers rated by Great Start to Quality improve child outcomes?

Programs and providers with a star rating have demonstrated quality through their practices, interactions and staff qualifications. Many highly rated programs and providers implement the use of an approved screening, assessment and curriculum, have lower adult to child ratios and partnerships within the community. High-quality child care helps children be more successful in school, and has been shown to improve health and increase earning outcomes over children’s lifetimes.

Educator FAQs

Why should I participate?

By participating in the Great Start to Quality rating process, you will have additional resources and services made available to help you provide the best care possible. Participating will also allow your program to demonstrate its quality to families searching for care for their children.

What are the steps of the Great Start to Quality rating process?

Step 1: Update Your Great Start to Quality Program Profile
Step 2: Completing Your Self-Assessment Survey
Step 3: Upload Evidence Supporting Your Self-Assessment Survey
Step 4: Submit Your Self-Assessment Survey
Step 5: Maintaining and Improving Your Program Quality
Step 6: Validation of Your Self-Assessment Survey
Step 7: On-site Assessment Using the Program Quality Assessment (PQA)
Step 8: Published Ratings

My program is nationally accredited, how does this support my rating?

Great Start to Quality recognizes the following accredited programs as an Alternate Path program:
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Great Start Readiness Programs
- Early Head Start
- Head Start
Being designated as an Alternate Path program allows you the option of choosing an Approved Rater if you move to the on-site assessment step of the rating process.

What is an internal review?

An internal review is a process that takes place when a program or provider does not agree with their validation or Program Quality Assessment (PQA) results. Program and providers can apply for an internal review by completing the form ( if they meet the criteria noted on the form. The review is conducted by Great Start to Quality staff with support from the Michigan Department of Education-Office of Great Start.