Keystone Stars



Improving child care quality through...
Training/Professional Development
Resources and

Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania.

The Keystone STARS Performance Standards provide the foundation for the program. The Performance Standards are grouped into four levels:


Each level builds on the previous level and utilizes research-based best practices to promote quality early learning environments and positive child outcomes. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early learning program, partnerships with family and community, and leadership and management.

STARS Enrollment Calculation Tools
Enrollment Calculation Tools Instructions
Enrollment Calculation Tools Instructions for Centers and Groups
Enrollment Calculation Tools Instructions for Family Providers

STARS Standards

Program Manual
Keystone STARS Quality Add-on Rates and Grants-Awards Structure

To ensure that award funding is spent in accordance with state and federal guidelines, sites receiving financial awards are required to submit copies of their receipts when reconciling their award. The most up-to-date Receipt Collection documents can be downloaded from the PaKeys website >>.

Rising STARS Grants ( – Application due October 5th


WHO IS ELIGIBLE? All active Keystone STAR 1 child care certified early care providers who are actively working on a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan that includes moving up to a STAR 2 in a reasonable amount of time. Also eligible are active STAR 2 providers who received the Rising STARS Support Grant and successfully moved from STAR 1 to STAR 2 as well as STAR 2 providers who have received the maximum amount of Merit Awards (three) but who now are positioned to move to a STAR 3 or 4. Finally, SACC only certified providers WILL also be included as an eligible program. To be eligible, providers may not receive more than two previous support grants (including the previous Rising STARS Support Grants) unless they successfully moved from STAR 1 to STAR 2 using the Rising STARS Support Grant. Eligibility exclusions include STARS Head Start, PA Pre-K Counts, Private Academic Schools (PDE licensed preschool) and School District Pre-K. SAC programs using After School Quality (ASQ) as an Alternate Pathways for STAR 2 will not be eligible for the Rising STARS Support Grant.

FAQ for Rising STARS Support Grant

STAR 2 Movement
Rising STARS STAR 2 Standard Worksheet
Rising STARS STAR 2 Application

STAR 3 Movement
Rising STARS STAR 3 Standard Worksheet
Rising STARS STAR 3 Application