Keystone Stars



New STARS Standards

Program Manual

The Benefits of Inclusion

This infographic from the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, The Benefits of Inclusion in Early Childhood, shares the impact of inclusion for all children, families and communities.

Click here to print the infographic. (Prints on legal size paper.)

Keystone STARS Revision Process

In 2017, The Keystone STARS Think Tank Team, in partnership with thousands of stakeholders, developed principles to guide the STARS revision process. The guiding principles below are the core values of the STARS system.

Keystone STARS is a responsive system to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. Our system is guided by three core principles:

  • A whole child approach to education is essential to meeting the holistic and individual needs of each and every child and family.
  • Knowledgeable and responsive early care and education professionals are essential to the development of children and the support of families.
  • Building and sustaining ongoing positive relationships among children, families, early care and education professionals and community stakeholders is essential for the growth and development of every child.

We believe inclusion, diversity, equity and respect are foundational values embedded in these principles.


Pennsylvania Regional Key Structure

In the spirit of continuous quality improvement, it’s important that OCDEL periodically re-evaluate the current structure and make adjustments to best meet the needs of early learning providers across the state. As a result of this program monitoring, OCDEL determined that a restructuring of the Regional Key regions was needed.

Effective July 1, 2013, the Regional Key structure will move from six to five Regional Keys.

OCDEL will work with each Regional Key to ensure as smooth a transition as possible and little to no gap in services to providers.

Providers from the transitioning counties may attend one of three “town hall” meetings in Cambria, Lycoming and Northumberland counties to ask questions. They will be held between May 13-17; exact dates and locations will be made available shortly.  Additional opportunities will be available to providers to participate on an OCDEL conference call if they are unable to attend one of the town hall sessions. 

Providers from the transitioning counties will continue to work with their current STARS specialist through June 30, 2013 and will be contacted by their new specialist between now and July 1.

For more information, visit the PA Keys website

click here for: Pa Regional Keys


Keystone STARS is one of the largest and most mature quality rating and improvement systems in the nation. Having just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, the Keystone STARS program must reach new heights in continuous quality improvement, just as it expects of the participating child care providers. The Rising STARS initiative focuses on access to the highest quality services for hard to reach / hard to serve children and families by providing supports to providers as they move up the quality scale to STAR 3 and 4 levels. Rising STARS is a two-pronged approach which redesigns: 1) the STARS grants and awards structure retroactive to July 1, 2012; and 2) the STARS subsidy add-on or tiered reimbursement rate, which will be effective January 1, 2013.

For more information watch the powerpoint presentation at for details.