In 2023, the GSQ Quality Improvement Process was revised to include all licensed schoolage programs to better support providers in improving quality and giving families the tools to make informed choices about care for their schoolagers. Great Start to Quality supports programs in child care settings, school-based programs, and stand alone offerings.

Quality Improvement Specialists and Coaches are available at your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center to offer guidance and support, including technical assistance, professional development and quality improvement coaching. Contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center at 1.877.614.7328 or

Quality Improvement Process

Programs serving schoolage follow the same process to achieve quality levels as other child care programs. Quality Indicators in the Self-Reflection are based on the ages of the children served in the program. Specific schoolage indicators will be included in the program’s Self-Reflection if applicable.

On-Site Observation

For many schoolage programs the On-Site Observation process may be new. Some programs have options for which observation tools they can have an Assessor use during the On-Site Observation. The two tools available for schoolage programs are the Social & Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA) and Classroom Assessment Observation Scoring System (CLASS) Pre-K – 3rd tool.

To better support programs with schoolage children, when a program serving multiple age groups comes through the Quality Improvement process for the first time, the schoolage classroom will be observed using either the CLASS or SEL PQA. However, if all required 0-5 classroom observations meet the threshold scores, but the schoolage classroom does not, the program will still move into Demonstrating Quality. This decision was made to allow programs that have never been required to have a schoolage classroom observed the opportunity to learn more about the tool, address areas for improvement, and be set up for success on future observations. After a program’s initial schoolage observation, schoolage classrooms will need to meet the CLASS or SEL PQA threshold scores in order to move into Demonstrating Quality.

Programs can used Approved Assessors who are trained and reliable in using the observation tools, rather than GSQ Assessors. To be eligible to use an Approved Assessor, the program must complete the accreditation process with either NAEYC or NAFCC or have an agreement (grant-funded or otherwise) for implementation of a program whose operation is overseen by an external partner that supports program quality.

Professional Development and Resources

Using the “Sponsor Name” field in the MiRegistry Statewide Training Calendar, search for “Weikart” for free training and “Afterschool” for low cost trainings. Most trainings are available virtually for your convenience.

Contact your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center for other professional development opportunities.


The Michigan After-school Partnership (MASP) also engages organizations across the state that support schoolage programs to improve quality. MASP supports Great Start to Quality by providing professional development opportunities, advocacy and connection with other state and local partners. 

The Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality is a strong partner of Great Start to Quality and the developer of the Social & Emotional Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA) tool used for On-Site Observation. Weikart provides coaching, training and technical assistance for schoolage programs and coaches.

MI-YDA is the Michigan Youth Development Associate and Credentialing program available to professionals who work with school-age youth. Learn more about becoming a candidate