The Star Rating System and
Your Family

If you are a parent looking for Child Care in Wilkes County, the North Carolina Star Rated License System can help find quality care. In 1999, the Division of Child Development began issuing licenses on a 1 – 5 star system. A rating of 1 star means that a child care provider meets the minimum licensing standards for child care in North Carolina. Programs that choose to voluntarily meet higher standards can have from 2 – 5 stars. Stars are awarded on Staff Education and Program Standards.

Program standards involve evaluations of the space and furnishing, personal care routines (like greeting/departing, toileting/diapering, health & safety practices, etc.), Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interaction, Program Structure, and Provisions for Parents & Staff.


Quality child care matters because early experiences affect how the brain is built. As a child’s brain
grows, the quality of experiences that a child has creates either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all the development that follows.

Star Rating Resources:


NC Division of Child Development and Early Education



NC Childcare Parent Brochure



Zero to Three – Choosing Quality Child Care


School Readiness

School readiness is defined by the condition of children as they enter school. Five domains are taken into consideration when evaluating a child’s readiness for school:

 * Health and Physical Development

 * Social and Emotional Development

 * Approaches Toward Learning

 * Language Development and Communication

 * Cognition and General Knowledge

It’s important for children to be healthy physically and emotionally, and able to interact with adults and children socially.

School readiness is arriving at school with the knowledge, skills, and physical and emotional health needed to participate successfully. It includes children having basic human needs like food, shelter, and loving and nurturing relationships readily met, so that children can focus on learning while at school.


The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. & Smart Start have partnered to ensure that children who are in child care across the state have access to the tools needed to make them successfully school ready.

School Readiness Resources:


Get Ready Toolkit


School Readiness Framework


The First 200 Days – Early Investment Days


National Association for the Education of Young Children School Readiness Position





Child Safety

Keeping your child safe is one of the most important issues to consider when bringing up your child. Each year in North Carolina, some 200 children die from accidental injuries and another 45,000 visit a doctor's office for treatment of such injuries. There is so much information available that it can feel overwhelming. As a parent, you've noticed that some kids are naturally cautious, while others are more prone to take risks. Psychologists now believe that this is related to brain chemistry. The child who startles easily at loud noises and needs coaxing to get on the seesaw will benefit from a different approach than the child who delights in dangling from the highest rung on the climbing bars. Children who are fearless adventurers need help in order to become more patient and vigilant. On the other hand, kids who avoid challenges need your reassurance and encouragement to comfortably explore.


Your child's age also plays a big part in how you handle safety. Very young children haven't developed the judgment to distinguish safe from unsafe situations, and hence need clear, non-negotiable rules. For instance, "Don't go near the stove" and "Never step into the street" are absolutes, which, when said and enforced consistently and emphatically, are accepted by most young children. As kids enter the preschool years they begin to develop some judgment about safety, but still can't be expected to apply safety rules consistently on their own. This is where you come in! Trust your judgment as their primary care provider. If in doubt, reach out to local agencies such as your pediatrician, police department, fire department, Department of Social Services, and the Wilkes Community Partnership for Children.

Child Safety Resources:


North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation

Safe Kids North Carolina

My Child Safety

Household Safety Checklists

Home Fire Safety Checklist


Child Development

Child development is a process involving learning and mastering skills, called developmental milestones, during predictable time periods. This includes cognitive development, social and emotional development, speech and language development, and fine and gross motor skill development. These are things that your pediatrician looks for each year at your child’s well visits. The brain grows rapidly during the first 5 years of life, and it’s important to remember that each child is an individual and will develop at his or her own pace.


As children develop from infants to teens to adults and go through the developmental stages that are important their development, the ideal role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support and access to activities that promote successful development. A parent is their child’s first teacher and will remain their best teacher throughout life.

Child Development Resources:


How Kids Develop

The Baby Center (with resources for toddlers and preschoolers as well)

The Child Development Institute

Ages & Stages