Quality child care comes in many shapes and sizes, just like children themselves. The trick is knowing how to look for it and recognizing it when you find it.
Parents across the region now have a resource to research and find quality early education and care thanks to SDQPI.org, a new website from the San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI), a network of high-quality early care and education programs.
“A child’s experiences during their first five years of life will have a profound impact for years to come,” County Superintendent of Schools Paul Gothold said. “That’s why investing in early education and care is the most important commitment we can make to help ensure a child’s future success.”
SDQPI.org was created by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) with funding from First 5 San Diego. The website is a comprehensive resource designed to help parents and providers understand what quality early care and education look like; how to find participating early care and education providers; and to assist providers who want to become part of QPI.
“SDCOE is a tireless champion of our county’s children,” said County Board of Education President Rick Shea. “We’re proud to be leading the way when it comes to the best in education and care for our youngest learners.”
The new website houses guidance on the essential elements of quality in early care and education, as well as quality rating data on more than 300 programs across the county – making it the go-to resource for parents and providers. The website covers the complete range of early care and education programs, from infant/toddler programs to center-based preschools to in-home family child care.
The website includes sections for families, programs, providers, and community members and funders. Visitors to the site will find answers to questions such as:
- How do I find an early education and care provider?
- What should I look for in a quality early education and care program?
- What is QPI’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), and how is it used to assess, improve, and sustain high-quality early care and education programs?
“The most important elements of quality for one parent may be different from the most important elements for another parent,” said Lucia Garay, executive director of Early Education for SDCOE. “With the SDQPI.org, parents will find useful information about a variety of quality elements, all based on data and research on best practices, and they can compare information from different local programs to understand their options.”
The website complements existing referral services by providing deeper knowledge about where and how to find quality early care and education for San Diego County families, as well as for providers and funders who want to invest in children, Garay said. And, she added, it’s a tool that will build a better, stronger network for early childhood education.
The first five years of a child’s life are critical for doing well in school and beyond, and the QPI website will help parents find the type of early care and education programs that will give their child a strong foundation.
“Every dollar invested in quality early childhood education and care pays off seven-fold,” said Alethea Arguilez, executive director of First 5 San Diego. “Early childhood education improves a child’s communication and social skills, their likelihood of going to college, and can even increase their lifelong earning potential -- but the key is quality.”
The San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative is a systemic approach to assessing, improving, and communicating the level of quality in early care and education programs. It is designed to increase access to high-quality early learning for San Diego County children. It is implemented by the San Diego County Office of Education, with funding from First 5 San Diego.